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The Mystery of the Sea 

IRew 6s. 1Rox>els 
























Mystery of the Sea 


Bram Stoker 

Author of " Dracula " 


William Heinemann 

Stc StacR 
lone/ Annex 

.<4# rights reserved. 

This Edition enjoys copyright in all 
countries signatory to tke Berne 

Treaty, and has been copyrighted in 
the United States of America by 
Brant Stoker, 1902. 





O" 7 

til Tntijljb'elli YO -jtt UU_t - 

e ^"^ otube Tij^Jt oji, 
^ll v 

" To win the mystery o' the sea, 
" An' learn the secrets that there be, 
" Gather in ane these weirds three : 

" A gowden moon on a flowin* tide ; 

" An' Lammas floods for the spell to bide ; 

" An' a gowden mon wi death for his bride." 

[Gaelic v*rse and English translation.] 





























x Contents 








XXXIII. DON BERNARDINO . . . , . . .269 

XXXIV. THE ACCOLADE . . , . . . .277 

XXXVI. THE RISING TIDE . . . . . . .293 

XXXVII. ROUND THE CLOCK . ,. . . . .302 



XLI. TREASURE TROVE ..'.'. . . .335 











LII. THE SHARES ........ 443 





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raf^pp m^&rije, tojejeljp ?e ir ^e-mt^V 
get fjfsf sj |e^ iiulng:, aktj ^ak 4 fcw& no cec* 
' d| %e Deot| to^f^l^ get 



I HAD just arrived at Cruden Bay on my annual visit, 
and after a late breakfast was sitting on the low 
wall which was a continuation of the escarpment 
of the bridge over the Water of Cruden. Opposite to 
me, across the road and standing under the only little 
clump of trees in the place was a tall, gaunt old woman, 
who kept looking at me intently. As I sat, a little group, 
consisting of a man and two women, went by. I found 
my eyes follow them, for it seemed to me after they 
had passed me that the two women walked together and 
the man alone in front carrying on his shoulder a little 
black box a coffin. I shuddered as I thought, but a mo- 
ment later I saw all three abreast just as they had been. 
The old woman was now looking at me with eyes that 
blazed. She came across the road and said to me without 
preface : 

" What saw ye then, that yer e'en looked so awed ? " 
I did not like to tell her so I did not answer. Her great 
eyes were fixed keenly upon me, seeming to look me 
through and through. I felt that I grew quite red, where- 
upon she said, apparently to herself : " I thocht so ! Even 
I did not see that which he saw." 

4 The Mystery of the Sea 

" How do you mean ? " I queried. She answered am- 
biguously : " Wait 1 Ye shall perhaps know before this 
hour to-morrow ! " 

Her answer interested me and I tried to get her to 
say more; but she would not. She moved away with a 
grand stately movement that seemed to become her great 
gaunt form. 

After dinner whilst I was sitting in front of the hotel, 
there was a great commotion in the village; much run- 
ning to and fro of men and women with sad mien. On 
questioning them I found that a child had been drowned 
in the little harbour below. Just then a woman and a 
man, the same that had passed the bridge earlier in the 
day, ran by with wild looks. One of the bystanders 
looked after them pityingly as he said : 

" Puir souls. It's a sad home-comin' for them the 

" Who are they ? " I asked. The man took off his cap 
reverently as he answered: 

" The father and mother of the child that was 
drowned ! " As he spoke I looked round as though some 
one had called me. 

There stood the gaunt woman with a look of triumph 
on her face. 


The curved shore of Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, is 
backed by a waste of sandhills in whose hollows seagrass 
and moss and wild violets, together with the pretty " grass 
of Parnassus " form a green carpet. The surface of the 
hills is held together by bent-grass and is eternally 
shifting as the wind takes the fine sand and drifts it to 
and fro. All behind is green, from the meadows that 
mark the southern edge of the bay to the swelling up- 
lands that stretch away and away far in the distance, 

Second Sight 5 

till the blue mist of the mountains at Braemar sets a kind 
of barrier. In the centre of the bay the highest point of 
the land that runs downward to the sea looks like a 
miniature hill known as the Hawklaw; from this point 
onward to the extreme south, the land runs high with a 
gentle trend downwards. 

Cruden sands are wide and firm and the sea runs out 
a considerable distance. When there is a storm with the 
wind on shore the whole bay is a mass of leaping waves 
and broken water that threatens every instant to annihi- 
late the stake-nets which stretch out here and there along 
the shore. More than a few vessels have been lost on 
these wide stretching sands, and it was perhaps the roar- 
ing of the shallow seas and the terror which they inspired 
which sent the crews to the spirit room and the bodies 
of those of them which came to shore later on, to the 
churchyard on the hill. 

If Cruden Bay is to be taken figuratively as a mouth, 
with the sand hills for soft palate, and the green 
Hawklaw as the tongue, the rocks which work the ex- 
tremities are its teeth. To the north the rocks of red 
granite rise jagged and broken. To the south, a mile 
and a half away as the crow flies, Nature seems to have 
manifested its wildest forces. It is here, where the 
little promontory called Whinnyfold juts out, that 
the two great geological features of the Aberdeen coast 
meet. The red sienite of the north joins the black gneiss 
of the south. That union must have been originally a 
wild one ; there are evidences of an upheaval which must 
have shaken the earth to its centre. Here and there are 
great masses of either species of rock hurled upwards 
in every conceivable variety of form, sometimes fused 
or pressed together so that it is impossible to say ex- 
actly where gneiss ends or sienite begins; but broadly 
speaking here is an irregular line of separation. This 

6 The Mystery of the Sea 

line runs seawards to the east and its strength is shown 
in its outcrop. For half a mile or more the rocks rise 
through the sea singly or in broken masses ending in 
a dangerous cluster known as " The Skares " and which 
has had for centuries its full toll of wreck and disaster. 
Did the sea hold its dead where they fell, its floor around 
the Skares would be whitened with their bones, and 
new islands could build themselves with the piling wreck- 
age. At times one may see here the ocean in her fiercest 
mood; for it is when the tempest drives from the south- 
east that the sea is fretted amongst the rugged rocks and 
sends its spume landwards. The rocks that at calmer 
times rise dark from the briny deep are lost to sight for 
moments in the grand onrush of the waves. The sea- 
gulls which usually whiten them, now flutter around 
screaming, and the sound of their shrieks comes in on 
the gale almost in a continuous note, for the single cries 
are merged in the multitudinous roar of sea and air. 

The village, squatted beside the emboucher of the 
Water of Cruden at the northern side of the bay is 
simple enough; a few rows of fishermen's cottages, two 
or .three great red-tiled drying-sheds nestled in the 
sand-heap behind the fishers' houses. For the rest of the 
place as it was when first I saw it, a little lookout beside 
a tall flagstaff on the northern cliff, a few scattered 
farms over the inland prospect, one little hotel down on 
the western bank of the Water of Cruden with a fringe 
of willows protecting its sunk garden which was always 
lull of fruits and flowers. 

From the most southern part of the beach of Cruden 
Bay to Whinnyfold village the distance is but a few 
hundred yards; first a steep pull up the face of the 
rock ; and then an even way, beside part of which runs a 
tiny stream. To the left of this path, going towards 
Whinnyfold, the ground rises in a bold slope and then 

Second Sight 7 

falls again all round, forming a sort of wide miniature 
hill of some eighteen or twenty acres. Of this the 
southern side is sheer, the black rock dipping into the 
waters of the little bay of Whinnyfold, in the centre of 
which is a picturesque island of rock shelving steeply 
from the water on the northern side, as is the tendency 
of all the gneiss and granite in this part. But to east and 
north there are irregular bays or openings, so that the 
furthest points of the promontory stretch out like fingers. 
At the tips of these are reefs of sunken rock falling 
down to deep water and whose existence can only be 
suspected in bad weather when the rush of the current 
beneath sends up swirling eddies or curling masses of 
foam. These little bays are mostly curved and are green 
where falling earth or drifting sand have hidden the 
outmost side of the rocks and given a foothold to the 
seagrass and clover. Here have been at some time or 
other great caves, now either fallen in or silted up with 
sand, or obliterated with the earth brought down in the 
rush of surface-water in times of long rain. In one of 
these bays, Broad Haven, facing right out to the Skares, 
stands an isolated pillar of rock called locally the " Puir 
mon " through whose base, time and weather have worn 
a hole through which one may walk dryshod. 

Through the masses of rocks that run down to the sea 
from the sides and shores of all these bays are here 
and there natural channels with straight edges as though 
cut on purpose for the taking in of the cobbles belong- 
ing to the fisher folk of Whinnyfold. 

When first I saw the place I fell in love with it. Had 
it been possible I should have spent my summer there, in 
a house of my own, but the want of any place in which 
to live forbade such an opportunity. So I stayed in the 
little hotel, the Kilmarnock Arms. 

The next year I came again, and the next, and the 

8 The Mystery of the Sea 

next. And then I arranged to take a feu at Whinnyfold 
and to build a house overlooking the Skares for myself. 
The details of this kept me constantly going to Whinny- 
fold, and my house to be was always in my thoughts. 

Hitherto my life had been an uneventful one. At 
school I was, though secretly ambitious, dull as to re- 
sults. At College I was better off, for my big body 
and athletic powers gave me a certain position in which 
I had to overcome my natural shyness. When I was about 
eight and twenty I found myself nominally a barrister, 
with no knowledge whatever of the practice of law and 
but little less of the theory, and with a commission in the 
Devil's Own the irreverent name given to the Inns of 
Court Volunteers. I had few relatives, but a comfortable, 
though not great, fortune; and I had been round the 
world, dilettante fashion. 


ALL that night I thought of the dead child and of 
the peculiar vision which had come to me. 
Sleeping or waking it was all the Same; my 
mind could not leave the parents in procession as seen 
in imagination, or their distracted mien in reality. 
Mingled with them was the great-eyed, aquiline-fea- 
tured, gaunt old woman who had taken such an interest 
in the affair, and in my part of it. I asked the land- 
lord if he knew her, since, from his position as postmaster 
he knew almost everyone for miles around. He told me 
that she was a stranger to the place. Then he added: 

" I can't imagine what brings her here. She has 
come over from Peterhead two or three times lately ; but 
she doesn't seem to have anything at all to do. She has 
nothing to sell and she buys nothing. She's not a tripper, 
and she's not a beggar, and she's not a thief, and she's 
not a worker of any sort. She's a queer-looking lot any- 
how. I fancy from her speech that she's from the west; 
probably from some of the far-out islands. I can tell 
that she has the Gaelic from the way she speaks." 

Later on in the day, when I was walking on the 
shore near the Hawklaw, she came up to speak to me. 
The shore was quite lonely, for in those days it was rare 
to see anyone on the beach except when the salmon 
fishers drew their nets at the ebbing tide. I was walking 
towards ^Whinny fold ^when she. came upon me silently 


io The Mystery of the Sea 

from behind. She must have been hidden among the 
bent-grass of the sandhills for had she been anywhere in 
view I must have seen her on that desolate shore. She 
was evidently a most imperious person; she at once ad- 
dressed me in a tone and manner which made me feel 
as though I were in some way an inferior, and in some- 
how to blame: 

" What for did ye no tell me what ye saw yesterday? " 
Instinctively I answered: 

" I don't know why. Perhaps because it seemed so 
ridiculous." Her stern features hardened into scorn as 
she replied: 

"Are Death and the Doom then so redeekulous that 
they pleasure ye intil silence?" I somehow felt that 
this was a little too much and was about to make a 
sharp answer, when suddenly it struck me as a remark- 
able thing that she knew already. Filled with surprise 
I straightway asked her : 

" Why, how on earth do you know ? I told no one." 
I stopped for I felt all at sea; there was some mystery 
here which I could not fathom. She seemed to read 
my mind like an open book, for she went on looking 
at me as she spoke, searchingly and with an odd 

"Eh! laddie, do ye no ken that ye hae een that can 
see? Do ye no understand that ye hae een that can 
speak? Is it that one with the Gift o' Second Sight has 
no an understandin' o' it. Why, yer face when ye saw the 
mark o' the Doom, was like a printed book to een like 

" Do you mean to tell me " I asked " that you could 
tell what I saw, simply by looking at my face ? " 

" Na ! na ! laddie. Not all that, though a Seer am I ; 
but I knew that you had seen the Doom! It's no that 
varied that there need be any mistake. After all Death 

Gormala 1 1 

is only one, in whatever way we may speak ! " After 
a pause of thought I asked her : 

" If you have the power of Second Sight why did you 
not see the vision, or whatever it was, yourself ? " 

" Eh ! laddie " she answered, shaking her head " "Pis 
little ye ken o' the wark o' the Fates! Learn ye then 
that the Voice speaks only as it listeth into chosen ears, 
and the Vision comes only to chosen een. None can 
will to hear or to see, to pleasure themselves." 

" Then " I said, and I felt that there was a measure 
of triumph in my tone " if to none but the chosen is 
given to know, how comes it that you, who seem not 
to have been chosen on this occasion at all events, know 
all the same ? " She answered with a touch of 
impatience : 

" Do ye ken, young sir, that even mortal een have 
power to see much, if there be behind them the thocht, an' 
the knowledge and the experience to guide them aright. 
How, think ye, is it that some can see much, and learn 
much as they gang ; while others go blind as the mowdi- 
wart, at the end o' the journey as before it ? " 

" Then perhaps you will tell me how much you saw, 
and how you saw it ? " 

"Ah! to them that have seen the Doom there needs 
but sma' guidance to their thochts. Too lang, an' too 
often hae I mysen seen the death-sark an' the watch- 
candle an' the dead-hole, not to know when they are 
seen tae ither een. Na, na! laddie, what I kent o' yer 
seein' was no by the Gift but only by the use o' my proper 
een. I kent not the muckle o' what ye saw. Not whether 
it was ane or ither o' the garnishins o' the dead; but 
weel I kent that it was o' death/' 

" Then," I said interrogatively " Second Sight is alto- 
gether a matter of chance ? " 

" Chance ! chance ! " she repeated with scorn. " Na ! 

12 The Mystery of the Sea 

young sir; when the Voice has spoken there is no more 
chance than that the nicht will follow the day." 

" You mistake me," I said, feeling somewhat superior 
now that I had caught her in an error, " I did not for 
a moment mean that the Doom whatever it is is not 
a true forerunner. What I meant was that it seems 
to be a matter of chance in whose ear the Voice what- 
ever it is speaks; when once it has been ordained that 
it is to sound in the ear of some one." Again she an- 
swered with scorn: 

" Na, na ! there is no chance o' ocht aboot the Doom. 
Them that send forth the Voice and the Seein' know 
well to whom it is sent and why. Can ye no comprehend 
that it is for no bairn-play that such goes forth. When 
the Voice speaks, it is mainly followed by tears an' woe 
an' lamentation ! Nae ! nor is it only one bit manifestation 
that stands by its lanes, remote and isolate from all ither. 
Truly 'tis but a pairt o' the great scheme o' things; an' 
be sure that whoso is chosen to see or to hear is chosen 
weel, an' must hae their pairt in what is to be, on to the 
verra end" 

"Am I to take it" I asked, "that Second Sight is 
but a little bit of some great purpose which has to be 
wrought out by means of many kinds; and that whoso 
sees the Vision or hears the Voice is but the blind un- 
conscious instrument of Fate?" 

"Aye! laddie. Weel eneuch the Fates know their 
wishes an' their wark, no to need the help or the thocht 
of any human blind or seein', sane or silly, conscious 
or unconscious." 

All through her speaking I had been struck by the 
old woman's use of the word ' Fate,' and more especially 
when she used it in the plural. It was evident that, 
Christian though she might be and in the West they 
are generally devout observants of the duties of their 

Gormala 13 

creed her belief in this respect came from some of the 
old pagan mythologies. I should have liked to question 
her on this point; but I feared to shut her lips against 
me. Instead I asked her: 

" Tell me, will you, if you don't mind, of some case 
you have known yourself of Second Sight?" 

" "Pis no for them to brag or boast to whom has been 
given to see the wark o' the hand o' Fate. But sine ye 
are yerself a Seer an' would learn, then I may speak. I 
hae seen the sea ruffle wi'oot cause in the verra spot 
where later a boat was to gang doon, I hae heard on 
a lone moor the hammerin' o' the coffin-wright when one 
passed me who was soon to dee. I hae seen the death- 
sark fold round the speerit o' a drowned one, in baith 
ma sleepin' an' ma wakin' dreams. I hae heard the 
settin' doom o' the Spaiks, an' I hae seen the Weepers 
on a' the crood that walked. Aye, an' in mony anither 
way hae I seen an' heard the Coming o' the Doom." 

"But did all the seeings and hearings come true?" 
I asked. " Did it ever happen that you heard queer 
sounds or saw strange sights and that yet nothing 
came of them? I gather that you do not always know 
to whom something is going to happen; but only that 
death is coming to some one ! " She was not displeased 
at my questioning but replied at once : 

" Na doot ! but there are times when what is seen or 
heard has no manifest following. But think ye, young 
sir, how mony a corp, still waited for, lies in the depths o' 
the sea; how mony lie oot on the hillsides, or are fallen 
in deep places where their bones whiten unkent. Nay! 
more, to how many has Death come in a way that men 
think the wark o' nature when his hastening has come 
frae the hand of man, untold." This was a difficult mat- 
ter to answer so I changed or rather varied the sub- 

14 The Mystery of the Sea 

" How long must elapse before the warning comes 

" Ye know yersel', for but yestreen ye hae seen, how 
the Death can follow hard upon the Doom; but there be 
times, nay mostly are they so, when days or weeks pass 
away ere the Doom is fulfilled." 

" Is this so ? " I asked " when you know the person 
regarding whom the Doom is spoken." She answered 
with an air of certainty which somehow carried con- 
viction, secretly, with it. 

" Even so! I know one who walks the airth now in all 
the pride o' his strength. But the Doom has been spoken 
of him. I saw him with these verra een lie prone on 
rocks, wi' the water rinnin' down from his hair. An' 
again I heard the minute bells as he went by me on a 
road where is no bell for a score o' miles. Aye, an' yet 
again I saw him in the kirk itsel' wi' corbies flyin' round 
him, an' mair gatherin' from afar ! " 

Here was indeed a case where Second Sight might be 
tested; so I asked her at once, though to do so I had 
to overcome a strange sort of repugnance: 

"Could this be proved? Would it not be a splendid 
case to make known; so that if the death happened it 
would prove beyond all doubt the existence of such a 
thing as Second Sight." My suggestion was not well 
received. She answered with slow scorn : 

" Bey on' all doot ! Doot ! Wha is there that doots the 
bein' o' the Doom? Learn ye too, young sir, that the 
Doom an' all thereby is no for traflfickin' wi' them that 
only cares for curiosity and publeecity. The Voice and 
the Vision o' the Seer is no for fine madams and idle 
gentles to while away their time in play-toy make-be- 
lieve ! " I climbed down at once. 

" Pardon me ! " I said " I spoke without thinking. I 
should not have said so to you at any rate." She ac- 

Gormala 1 5 

cepted my apology with a sort of regal inclination; but 
the moment after she showed by her words she was 
after all but a woman! 

" I will tell ye ; that so in the full time ye may hae 
no doot yersel'. For ye are a Seer and as Them that 
has the power hae gien ye the Gift it is no for the like 
o' me to cumber the road o' their doin'. Know ye then, 
and remember weel, how it was told ye by Gormala 
MacNiel that Lauchlane Macleod o' the Outer Isles hae 
been Called; tho' as yet the Voice has no sounded in 
his ears but only in mine. But ye will see the time " 

She stopped suddenly as though some thought had 
struck her, and then went on impressively: 

" When I saw him lie prone on the rocks there was ane 
that bent ower him that I kent not in the nicht wha it 
was, though the licht o' the moon was around him. ,We 
shall see ! We shall see 1 " 

Without a word more she turned and left me. She 
would not listen to my calling after her; but with long 
strides passed up the beach and was lost among the 


ON the next day I rode on my bicycle to Peterhead, 
and walked on the pier. It was a bright clear 
day, and a fresh northern breeze was blowing. 
The fishing boats were ready to start at the turn of the 
tide; and as I came up the first of them began to pass 
out through the harbour mouth. Their movement was 
beautiful to see; at first slowly, and then getting faster 
as the sails were hoisted, till at last they swept through 
the narrow entrance, scuppers under, righting themselves 
as they swung before the wind in the open sea. Now 
and again a belated smacksman came hurrying along to 
catch his boat before she should leave the pier. 

The eastern pier of Peterhead is guarded by a massive 
wall of granite, built in several steps or tiers, which 
breaks the fury of the gale. When a northern storm is 
on, it is a wild spot; the waves dash over it in walls of 
solid green topped with mountainous masses of foam and 
spray. But at present, with the July sun beating down, 
it was a vantage post from which to see the whole har- 
bour and the sea without. I climbed up and sat on the 
top, looking on admiringly, and lazily smoked in quiet 
enjoyment. Presently I noticed some one very like Gor- 
mala come hurrying along the pier, and now and again 
crouching behind one of the mooring posts. I said noth- 
ing but kept an eye on her, for I supposed that she was 
at her usual game of watching some one. 


An Ancient Rune 17 

Soon a tall man strode leisurely along, and from every 
movement of the woman I could see that he was the sub- 
ject of her watching. He came near where I sat, and stood 
there with that calm unconcerned patience which is a 
characteristic of the fisherman. 

He was a fine-looking fellow, well over six feet high, 
with a tangled mass of thick red-yellow hair and curly, 
bushy beard. He had lustrous, far-seeing golden-brown 
eyes, and massive, finely-cut features. His pilot-cloth 
trousers spangled all over with silver herring scales, were 
tucked into great, bucket-boots. He wore a heavy blue 
jersey and a cap of weazel skin. I had been thinking of 
the decline of the herring from the action of the trawlers 
in certain waters, and fancied this would be a good 
opportunity to get a local opinion. Before long I strolled 
over and joined this son of the Vikings. He gave it, 
and it was a decided one, uncompromisingly against 
the trawlers and the laws which allowed them to do their 
nefarious work. He spoke in a sort of old-fashioned, 
biblical language which was moderate and devoid of 
epithets, but full of apposite illustration. When he had 
pointed out that certain fishing grounds, formerly most 
prolific of result to the fishers, were now absolutely worth- 
less he ended his argument: 

" And, sure, good master, it stands to rayson. Sup- 
pose you be a farmer, and when you have prepared your 
land and manured it, you sow your seed and plough 
the ridges and make it all safe from wind and devastatin' 
storm. If, when the green corn be shootin' frae the airth, 
you take your harrow and drag it ath'art the springin' 
seed, where be then the promise of your golden grain ? " 

For a moment or two the beauty of his voice, the deep, 
resonant, earnestness of his tone and the magnificent, 
simple purity of the man took me away from the scene. 
He seemed as though I had looked him through and 

1 8 The Mystery of the Sea 

through, and had found him to be throughout of golden 
worth. Possibly it was the imagery of his own speech 
and the colour which his eyes and hair and cap suggested, 
but he seemed to me for an instant as a small figure pro- 
jected against a background of rolling upland clothed 
in ripe grain. Round his feet were massed the folds of 
a great white sheet whose edges faded into air. In a 
moment the image passed, and he stood before me in his 
full stature. 

I almost gasped, for just behind him, where she had 
silently come, stood Gormala, gazing not at the fisherman 
but at me, with eyes that positively blazed with a sort of 
baleful eagerness. She was looking straight into my 
eyes ; I knew it when I caught the look of hers. 

The fisherman went on talking. I did not, however, 
hear what he was saying, for again some mysterious 
change had come over our surroundings. The blue sea 
had over it the mystery of the darkness of the night; 
the high noon sun had lost its fiery vigour and shone 
with the pale yellow splendour of a full moon. All around 
me, before and on either hand, was a waste of waters; 
the very air and earth seemed filmed with moving water, 
and the sound of falling waters was in my ears. Again, 
the golden fisherman was before me for an instant, 
not as a moving speck but in full size now he lay prone ; 
limp and lifeless, with waxen cold cheeks, in the eloquent 
inaction of death. The white sheet I could see now that 
it was a shroud was around him up to his heart. I 
seemed to feel Gormala's eyes burning into my brain as 
I looked. All at once everything seemed to resume its 
proper proportion, and I was listening calmly to the 
holding forth of the Viking. 

I turned instinctively and looked at Gormala. For an 
instant her eyes seemed to blaze triumphantly; then she 
pulled the little shawl which she wore closer round her 

An Ancient Rune 19 

shoulders and, with a gesture full of modesty and defer- 
ence turned away. She climbed up the ridges of the 
harbour wall and sat looking across as at the sea beyond, 
now studded with a myriad of brown sails. 

A little later the stolid indifference as to time slipped 
all at once from the fisherman. He was instinct with life 
and action, and with a touch of his cap and a " Farewell 
good Master ! " stood poised on the very edge of the 
pier ready to spring on a trim, weather-beaten smack 
which came rushing along almost grazing the rough stone 
work. It made our hearts jump as he sprang on board 
and taking the tiller from the hand of the steersman 
turned the boat's head to the open sea. As she rushed out 
through the harbour mouth we heard behind us the voice 
of an old fisherman who had hobbled up to us : 

" He'll do that once too often ! Lauchlane Macleod 
is like all these men from Uist and the rest of the Out 
Islanders. They don't care ' naught about naught.' " 

Lauchlane Macleod ! The very man of whom Gormala 
had prophesied! The very mention of his name seemed 
to turn me cold. 

After lunch at the hotel I played golf on the links 
till evening drew near. Then I got on my bicycle 
to return home. I had laboured slowly up the long 
hill to the Stirling quarry when I saw Gormala sit- 
ting on the roadside on a great boulder of red granite. 
She was evidently looking out for me, for when I came 
near she rose up and deliberately stood^i the roadway in 
my path. I jumped off my wheel ana asked her point 
blank what she wanted with me so much that she stopped 
me on the road. 

Gormala was naturally an impressive figure, but at 
present she looked weird and almost unearthly. Her 
tall, gaunt form lit by the afterglow in a soft mysterious 
light was projected against the grey of the darkening 

2O The Mystery of the Sea 

sea, whose sombreness was emphasised by the brilliant 
emerald green of the sward which fell from where we 
stood to the jagged cliff-line. 

The loneliness of the spot was profound. From where 
we stood not a house was to be seen, and the darkening 
sea was desert of sails. It seemed as if we two were 
the only living things in nature's vast expanse. To me 
it was a little awesome. Gormala's first mysterious 
greeting when I had seen the mourning for the child, 
and her persistent following of me ever since, had begun 
to get on my nerves. She had become a sort of enforced 
condition to me, and whether she was present in the 
flesh or not, the expectation or the apprehension of her 
coming I hardly knew which it was kept my thoughts 
perpetually interested in her. Now, her weird, statuesque 
attitude and the scene around us finished my intellectual 
subjugation. The weather had changed to an almost in- 
conceivable degree. The bright clear sky of the morning 
had become darkly mysterious, and the wind had died 
/away to an ominous calm. Nature seemed altogether 
sentient, and willing to speak directly to a man in my 
own receptive mood. The Seer-woman evidently knew 
this, for she gave fully a minute of silence for the natural 
charm to work before she spoke. Then in a solemn warn- 
ing voice she said: 

" Time is flying by us ; Lammas-tide is nigh." The 
words impressed me, why I know not; for though I 
had heard of Lammas-tide I had not the smallest idea of 
what was meant by it. Gormala was certainly quick with 
her eyes she had that gypsy quality in remarkable 
degree and she seemed to read my face like an open 
book. There was a suppressed impatience in her manner, 
as of one who must stop in the midst of some important 
matter to explain to a child whose aid is immediately, 
necessary : 

An Ancient Rune 21 

" Ye no ken why? Is it that ye dinna heed o' Lammas- 
tide, or that ye no ken o' the prophecy of the Mystery 
of the Sea and the treasures that lie hid therein." I felt 
more than ever abashed, and that I should have known 
long ago those things of which the gaunt woman spoke, 
towering above me as I leaned on my wheel. She went 

" An' ye no ken, then listen and learn ! " and she spoke 
the following rune in a strange, staccato cadence which 
seemed to suit our surroundings and to sink into my 
heart and memory so deep that to forget would be 
impossible : 

' To win the Mystery o' the Sea, 
' An" learn the secrets that there be, 
' Gather in one these weirds three : 

' A gowden moon on a flowin' tide, 

' And Lammas floods for the spell to bide; 

' And a gowden mon wi' death for his bride." 

There was a long pause of silence between us, and I 
felt very strangely. The sea before me took odd, in- 
definite shape. It seemed as though it was of crystal 
clearness, and that from where I gazed I could see all 
its mysteries. That is, I could see so as to know there were 
mysteries, though what they were individually I could 
not even dream. The past and the present and the future 
seemed to be mingled in one wild, chaotic, whirling 
dream, from the mass of which thoughts and ideas 
seemed now and again to fly out unexpectedly on all 
sides as do sparks from hot iron under the hammer. 
Within my heart grew vague indefinite yearnings, aspira- 
tions, possibilities. There came a sense of power so 
paramount that instinctively I drew myself up to my full 
height and became conscious of the physical vigour within 

22 The Mystery of the Sea 

me. As I did so I looked around and seemed to wake 
from a dream. 

Naught around me but the drifting clouds, the silent 
darkening land and the brooding sea. Gormala was 
nowhere to be seen. 


WHEN I got to Cruden it was quite dark. I 
had lingered by the way thinking of Gormala 
MacNiel and all the queer kind of mystery 
in which she seemed to be enmeshing me. The more I 
thought, the more I was puzzled ; for the strangest thing 
of all to me was that I understood part of what seemed 
to be a mystery. For instance I was but imperfectly 
acquainted with the Seer-woman's view of what was 
to be the result of her watching of Lauchlane Macleod. 
I knew of course from her words at our first conver- 
sation that in him she recognised a man doomed to 
near death according to the manifestation of her own 
power of Second Sight; but I knew what she did not 
seem to, that this was indeed a golden man. From the 
momentary glimpse which I had had in that queer spell 
of trance, or whatever it was which had come to me on 
the pier head, I had seemed to know him as a man of 
gold, sterling throughout. It was not merely that his 
hair was red gold and that his eyes might fairly be called 
golden, but his whole being could only be expressed in 
that way; so that when Gormala spoke, the old rhyme 
seemed at once a prime factor in the group of three 
powers which had to be united before the fathoming of 
the Mystery of the Sea. I accordingly made up my 
mind to speak with the Seer-woman and to ask her to 
explain. My own intellectual attitude to the matter in- 


24 The Mystery of the Sea 

terested me. I was not sceptical, I did not believe ; but I 
think my mind hung in poise. Certainly my sympathies 
tended towards the mysterious side, backed up by some 
kind of understanding of the inner nature of things 
which was emotional or unintentional rather than 

All that night I seemed to dream, my mind working 
eternally round the data of the day; hundreds of differ- 
ent relationships between Gormala, Lauchlane Macleod, 
Lammas-tide, the moon and the secrets of the sea re- 
volved before me. It was grey morning before I fell 
asleep to the occasional chirping of the earliest birds. 

As sometimes happens after a night of uneasy dream- 
ing of some disturbing topic, the reaction of the morn- 
ing carried oblivion with it. It was well into the after- 
noon when all at once I remembered the existence of the 
witch-woman for as such I was beginning to think of 
Gormala. The thought came accompanied by a sense of 
oppression which was not of fear, but which was cer- 
tainly of uneasiness. Was it possible that the woman 
had in some way, or to some degree, hypnotised me. I 
remembered with a slightly nervous feeling how the 
evening before I had stopped on the roadway obedient 
to her will, and how I had lost the identity of my sur- 
roundings in her presence. A sudden idea struck me; 
I went to the window and looked out. For an instant 
my heart seemed to be still. 

Just opposite the house stood Gormala, motionless. I 
went out at once and joined her, and instinctively we 
turned our steps toward the sand-hills. As we walked 
along I said to her: 

" Where did you disappear to last night? " 

" About that which is to be done ! " Her lips and her 
face were set; I knew it was no use following up that 
branch of the subject, so I asked again: 

Lammas Floods 25 

" What did you mean by those verses which you told 
me ? " Her answer was given in a solemn tone : 

" Them that made them alone can tell ; until the time 
shall come ! " 

"Who made them?" 

" Nane can now tell. They are as aud as the rocky 
foundations o' the isles themselves." 

" Then how did you come to know them ? " There 
was a distinct note of pride in her answer. Such a 
note as might be expected from a prince speaking of 
his ancestry: 

" They hae come doon to me through centuries. Frae 
mither to dochter, and from mither to dochter again, 
wi' never a break in the lang line o' the tellin'. Know 
ye, young master, that I am o' a race o' Seers. I take 
my name from that Gormala o' Uist who through long 
years foresaw the passing o' mony a one. That Gormala 
who throughout the islands of the west was known and 
feared o' all men; that Gormala whose mither's mither, 
and mither's mither again, away back into the darkness 
o' time when coracles crept towards the sunset ower the 
sea and returned not, held the fates o' men and women in 
their han's and ruled the Mysteries o' the Sea." As it 
was evident that Gormala must have in her own mind 
some kind of meaning of the prophecy, or spell, or what- 
ever it was, I asked her again : 

" But you must understand something of the meaning, 
or you would not attach so much importance to it ? " 

" I ken naught but what is seen to ma een, and to that 
inner e'e which telleth tae the soul that which it seeth ! " 

" Then why did you warn me that Lammas-tide was 
near at hand ? " The grim woman actually smiled as she 
replied : 

" Did ye no hearken to the words spoken of the Lammas 
floods, which be of the Powers that rule the Spell ? " 

26 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Well, the fact is that I don't know anything of 
' Lammas-tide ! ' We do not keep it in the Church of 
England," I added as an afterthought, explanatory of 
my ignorance. Gormala was clever enough to take advan- 
tage of having caught me in a weak place; so she took 
advantage of it to turn the conversation into the way she 
wished herself: 

" What saw ye, when Lauchlane Macleod grew sma' 
in yer een, and girt again ? " 

" Simply, that he seemed to be all at once a tiny image 
of himself, seen against a waste of ripe corn." Then it 
struck me that I had not as yet told her or any one else 
of what I had seen. How then did she know it? I 
was annoyed and asked her. She answered scorn- 

" How kent I it, an* me a Seer o' a race o' Seers ! Are 
ma wakin' een then so dim or so sma' that I canna read 
the thochts o' men in the glances o' their een. Did I no 
see yer een look near an' far as quick as thocht? But 
what saw ye after, when ye looked rapt and yer een 
peered side to side, as though at one lyin' prone?" I 
was more annoyed than ever and answered her in a sort of 
stupor : 

" I saw him lying dead on a rock, with a swift tide 
running by; and over the waters the broken track of a 
golden moon." She made a sound which was almost a 
cry, and which recalled me to myself as I looked at her. 
She was ablaze. She towered to her full height with an 
imperious, exultant mien ; the light in her eyes was more 
than human as she said: 

" Dead, as I masel' saw him an' 'mid the foam o' the 
tide race ! An' gowd, always gowd ahint him in the een 
of this greater Seer. Gowden corn, and gowden moon, 
and gowden sea! Aye! an' I see it now, blind backie- 
bird that I hae been; the gowden mon indeed, wi* his 

Lammas Floods 27 

gowden een an' his gowden hair and all the truth o' his 
gowden life ! " Then turning to me she said fiercely : 

"Why did I warn ye that Lammas-tide was near? 
Go ask those that value the months and days thereof, 
when be Lammas and what it means to them that hae 
faith. See what they are; learn o' the comin' o ! the 
moon and o' the flowin' o' the tides that follow ! " 

Without another word she turned and left me. 

I went back to the hotel at once, determined to post 
myself as to Lammas-tide; its facts and constitutions, 
and the beliefs and traditions that hung around it. Also 
to learn the hours of the tides, and the age of the moon 
about the time of Lammas-tide. Doubtless I could have 
found out all I wanted from some of the ministers of the 
various houses of religion which hold in Cruden; but I 
was not wishful to make public, even so far, the mystery 
which was closing around me. My feeling was partly 
a saving sense of humour, or the fear of ridicule, and 
partly a genuine repugnance to enter upon the subject 
with any one who might not take it as seriously as I could 
wish. From which latter I gather that the whole affair 
was becoming woven into the structure of my life. 

Possibly it was, that some trait, or tendency, or power 
which was individual to me was beginning to manifest 
itself and to find its means of expression. In my secret 
heart I not only believed but knew that some instinct 
within me was guiding my thoughts in some strange way. 
The sense of occult power which is so vital a part of 
divination was growing within me and asserting its 
masterdom, and with it came an equally forceful desire of 
secrecy. The Seer in me, latent so long, was becoming 
conscious of his strength, and jealous of it. 

At this time, as the feeling of strength and conscious- 
ness grew, it seemed to lose something of its power from 
this very cause. Gradually it was forced upon me that 

28 The Mystery of the Sea 

for the full manifestation of such faculty as I might 
possess, some kind of abstraction or surrender of self 
was necessary. Even a few hours of experience had 
taught me much ; for now that my mind was bent on the 
phenomena of Second Sight the whole living and moving 
world around me became a veritable diorama of possi- 
bilities. Within two days from the episode at the Pier 
head I had had behind me a larger experience of effort 
of occult force than generally comes to a man in a life- 
time. When I look back, it seems to me that all the 
forces of life and nature became exposed to my view. A 
thousand things which hitherto I had accepted in simple 
faith as facts, were pregnant with new meanings. I 
began to understand that the whole earth and sea, and air 
all that of which human beings generally ordinarily take 
cognisance, is but a film or crust which hides the deeper 
moving powers or forces. With this insight I began to 
understand the grand guesses of the Pantheists, pagan 
and Christian alike, who out of their spiritual and ner- 
vous and intellectual sensitiveness began to realise that 
there was somewhere a purposeful cause of universal 
action. An action which in its special or concrete work- 
ing appeared like the sentience of nature in general, and 
of the myriad items of its cosmogony. 

I soon learned that Lammas day is the first of August 
and is so often accompanied by heavy weather that Lam- 
mas floods are almost annually recurrent. The eve of the 
day is more or less connected with various supersti- 

This made me more eager for further information, and 
by the aid of a chance friend, I unearthed at Aberdeen 
a learned professor who gave me offhand all the infor- 
mation which I desired. In fact he was so full of as- 
tronomical learning that I had to stop him now and again 
in order to elucidate some point easily explainable to those 

Lammas Floods 29 

who understood his terminology, but which wrapped my 
swaddling knowledge in a mystery all its own. I have 
a sneaking friendliness even now for anyone to whom 
the word ' syzygy ' carries no special meaning. 

I got at the bases of facts, however, and understood 
that on the night of July 31, which was the eve of Lam- 
mas-tide, the moon would be full at midnight. I learned 
also that from certain astronomical reasons the tide which 
would ostensibly begin its flow a little after midnight 
would in reality commence just on the stroke. As these 
were the points which concerned me I came away with a 
new feeling of awe upon me. It seemed as though the 
heavens as well as the earth were bending towards the 
realisation or fulfilment of the old prophecy. At this time 
my own connection with the mystery, or how it might 
affect me personally, did not even enter my head. I was 
content to be an obedient item in the general scheme of 

It was now the 28th July so, if it were to take place 
at the Lammas-tide of the current year, we should know 
soon the full measure of the denouement. There was 
but one thing wanting to complete the conditions of the 
prophecy. The weather had been abnormally dry, and 
there might after all be no Lammas floods. To-day, 
however, the sky had been heavily overcast. Great black 
clouds which seemed to roll along tumbling over and 
over, as the sail of a foundered boat does in a current, 
loomed up from the west. The air grew closer, and to 
breathe was an effort. A sort of shiver came over the 
wide stretch of open country. Darker and darker grew 
the sky, till it seemed so like night that the birds in the 
few low-lying coppices and the scanty hedgerows ceased 
to sing. The bleat of sheep and the low of cattle seemed 
to boom through the still air with a hollow sound, as if 
coming from a distance. The intolerable stillness which 


precedes the storm became so oppressive that I, who am 
abnormally susceptible to the moods of nature, could 
almost have screamed out. 

Then all at once the storm broke. There was a flash 
of lightning so vivid that it lit up the whole country 
away to the mountains which encircle Braemar. The 
fierce crash and wide roll of the thunder followed with 
incredible quickness. And then the hot, heavy-dropped 
summer rain fell in torrents. 

All that afternoon the rain fell, with only a few brief 
intervals of glowing sunshine. All night, too, it seemed to 
fall without ceasing, for whenever I woke which I did 
frequently with a sense over me of something impending 
I could hear the quick, heavy patter on the roof, and 
the rush and gurgle of the overcharged gutters. 

The next day was one of unmitigated gloom. The 
rain poured down ceaselessly. There was little wind, just 
sufficient to roll -north-eastwards .the great masses of 
rain-laden clouds piled up by the Gulf Stream against the 
rugged mountains of the western coast and its rocky 
islands. Two whole days there were of such rain, and 
then there was no doubt as to the strength of the Lammas 
floods this year. All the wide uplands of Buchan were 
glistening with runnels of water whenever the occa- 
sional glimpses of sunshine struck them. Both the Water 
of Cruden and the Back Burn were running bank high. 
On all sides it was reported that the Lammas floods were 
the greatest that had been known in memory. 

All this time my own spiritual and intellectual uneasi- 
ness was perpetually growing. The data for the work- 
ing of the prophecy were all fixed with remarkable 
exactness. In theatrical parlance ' the stage was set ' and 
all ready for the action which was to come. As the 
hours wore on, my uneasiness changed somewhat and 
apprehension became merged in a curious mixture of 

Lammas Floods 31 

superstition and exaltation. I was growing eager to the 
coming time. 

The afternoon of July 31 was fine. The sun shone 
brightly; the air was dry and, for the time of year, cool. 
It seemed as though the spell of wet weather was over 
and that fiery August was coming to its own again. The 
effects of the rainstorm were, however, manifest. Not 
only was every rill and stream and river in the North in 
spate but the bogs of the mountains were so saturated 
with wet that many days must elapse before they could 
cease to send their quota to swell the streams. The 
mountain valleys were generally lakes in miniature. As 
one went through the country the murmur or rush of 
falling water was forever in the ears. I suppose it was 
in my own case partly because I was concerned in the 
mere existence of Lammas floods that the whole of nature 
seemed so insistent on the subject. The sound of moving 
water in its myriad gamut was so perpetually in my ears 
that I could never get my mind away from it. I had a 
long walk that afternoon through roads still too wet and 
heavy for bicycling. I came back to dinner thoroughly 
tired out, and went to bed early. 


I DO not remember what woke me. I have a vague 
idea that it was a voice, but whether outside the 
house or within myself I know not. 

It was eleven o'clock by my watch when I left the 
Kilmarnock Arms and took my way across the sandhills, 
heading for the Hawklaw which stood out boldly in the 
brilliant moonlight. I followed the devious sheep track 
amongst the dunes covered with wet bent-grass, every 
now and again stumbling amongst the rabbit burrows 
which in those days honeycombed the sandhills of Cruden 
Bay. At last I came to the Hawklaw, and, climbing the 
steep terraced edge near the sea, sat on the top to breathe 
myself after the climb. 

The scene was one of exquisite beauty. Its natural 
loveliness was enhanced by the softness of the full yellow 
moonlight which seemed to flood the heavens and the 
earth alike. To the south-east the bleak promontory of 
Whinnyfold stood out stark and black as velvet and the 
rocks of the Skares were like black dots in the quivering 
sea of gold. I arose and went on my way. The tide was 
far out and as I stumbled along the rude path above the 
waste of boulders I had a feeling that I should be late. I 
hurried on, crossed the little rill which usually only 
trickled down beside the fishers' zigzag path at the back 
of Whinnyfold but which was now a rushing stream 
again the noise of falling water, the voice of the Lammas 

The Mystery of the Sea 33 

floods and took the cart track which ran hard by the 
cliff down to the point which looked direct upon the 

When I reached the very edge of the cliff, where the 
long sea-grass and the deep clover felt underfoot like a 
luxurious carpet, I was not surprised to see Gormala 
seated, looking out seawards. The broad track of the 
moon lay right across the outmost rock of the Skares and 
falling across some of the jagged rocks, which seemed 
like fangs rising from the deep water as the heave of the 
waveless sea fell back and the white water streamed 
down, came up to where we stood and seemed to bathe 
both the Seer-woman and myself in light. There was 
no current anywhere, but only the silent rise and fall of 
the water in the everlasting movement of the sea. When 
she heard me behind her Gormala turned round, and 
the patient calmness of her face disappeared. She rose 
quickly, and as she did so pointed to a small boat which 
sailing up from the south was now drawing opposite to 
us and appeared to be making a course as close to shore 
as possible, just clearing the outer bulwark of the Skares. 

" Look ! " she said, " Lauchlane Macleod comes by his 
lanes. The rocks are around him, and his doom is at 

There did not appear any danger in such a course; 
the wind was gentle, the tide was at the still moment 
between ebb and flow, and the smoothness of the water 
beyond the rock seemed to mark its great depth. 

All at once the boat seemed to stand still, we were too 
far off to hear a sound even on such a still night. The 
mast bent forward and broke short off, the sails hung 
limp in the water with the peak of the lug sail sticking 
up in a great triangle, like the fin of a mammoth shark. 
A few seconds after, a dark speck moved on the water 
which became agitated around it; it was evident that a 


34 The Mystery of the Sea 

swimmer was making for the land. I would have gone 
to help him had it been of use ; but it was not, the outer 
rock was half a mile away. Indeed, though I knew it was 
no use, I was yet about to swim to meet him when Gor- 
mala's voice behind me arrested me : 

" Do ye no see that gin ye meet him amid yon rocks, 
ye can, when the tide begins to race, be no help to any. 
If he can win through, ye may help him if ye bide here." 
The advice was good and I stayed my feet. The swim- 
mer evidently knew the danger, for he hurried frantically 
to win some point of safety before the tide should turn. 
But the rocks of the Skares are deadly steep; they rise 
from the water sheer everywhere, and to climb them 
from the sea is a hopeless task. Once and again the swim- 
mer tried to find a chink or cranny where he could climb ; 
but each time he tried to raise himself he fell back into 
the water. Moreover I could see that he was wounded, 
for his left hand hung idle. He seemed to realise the 
hopelessness of the task, and turning, made desperately 
for the part where we stood. He was now within the 
most dangerous spot in the whole region of the Skares. 
The water is of great depth everywhere and the needle- 
points of rocks rise almost to the very surface. It is only 
when the waves are rough at low water that they can be 
seen at all, when the dip of the waves leaves them bare ; 
but from the surface in calm weather they cannot be 
seen as the swirl of the tide around them is invisible-. 
Here, too, the tide, rounding the point and having the 
current broken by the masses of the great rock, rolls with 
inconceivable rapidity. I had too often watched from the 
headland where my home was to be the set of the tide 
not to know the danger. I shouted as loudly as I could, 
but for some reason he did not hear me. The moments 
ere the tide should turn seemed like ages ; and yet it was 
with a sudden shock that I heard the gurgle of moving 

The Mystery of the Sea 35 

water followed by the lap, lap, lap, getting quicker each 
second. Somewhere inland a clock struck twelve. 

The tide had turned and was beginning to flow. 

In a few seconds the swimmer felt its effects, though he 
did not seem to notice them. Then he was swept towards 
the north. All at once there was a muffled cry which 
seemed to reach slowly to where we stood, and the swim- 
mer rolled over for an instant. It was only too apparent 
what had happened; he had struck his arm against one 
of the sunken rocks and injured it. Then he commenced 
a mad struggle for life, swimming without either arm in 
that deadly current which grew faster and faster every 
moment. He was breathless, and now and again his head 
dipped ; but he kept on valiantly. At last in one of these 
dips, borne by the momentum of his own strength and the 
force of the current, he struck his head against another 
of the sunken rocks. For an instant he raised it, and I 
could see it run red in the glare of the moonlight. 

Then he sank; from the height where I stood I could 
see the body roll over and over in the fierce current which 
made for the outmost point to the north-east of the prom- 
ontory. I ran over as fast as I could, Gormala following. 
When I came to the rock, which here shelved, I plunged 
in and after a few strokes met by chance the body as it 
rolled upward. With a desperate effort I brought it to 

The struggle to lift the body from the water and to 
bear it up the rock exhausted me, so that when I reached 
the top of the cliff I had to pause for a few seconds to 
breathe hard. Since the poor fellow's struggle for life had 
begun I had never for an instant given the prophecy a 
thought. But now, all at once, as I looked past the figure, 
lying limp before me with the poor arms twisted unnatu- 
rally and the head turned away past the moonlit sea and 
the great, golden orb whose track was wrinkled over the 

36 The Mystery of the Sea 

racing tide, the full force of it burst upon me, and I felt 
a sort of spiritual transformation. The air seemed full 
of fluttering wings; sea and land alike teemed with life 
that I had not hitherto dreamed of. I felt in a sort of spir- 
itual trance. But the open eyes were upon me; I feared 
the man was dead, but Briton-like I would not accept 
the conviction without effort. So I raised the body to 
my shoulders, determined to make with what speed I 
could for Whinnyfold where fire and willing hands could 
aid in restoration. As I laid the limp body across my 
shoulders, holding the two hands in my right hand to 
steady the burden whilst with the left I drew some of the 
clothing tight, I caught Gormala's eye. She had not 
helped me in any possible way, though more than once 
in distress I had called to her. So now I said angrily : 

" Get away woman ! You should be ashamed of your- 
self never to help at such a time," and I took my way 
unaided. I did not heed at the time her answer, spoken 
with a certain measure of deprecation, though it after- 
wards came back to me : 

" Am I to wark against the Fates when They have 
spoken ! The Dead are dead indeed when the Voice has 
whispered in their ears !" 

Now, as I passed along with the hands of the dead man 
in mine the true shell of a man whose spirit could be 
but little space away whilst the still blood in the veins 
was yet warm a strange thing began to happen. The 
spirits of earth and sea and air seemed to take shape to 
me, and all the myriad sounds of the night to have a 
sentient cause of utterance. As I panted and struggled 
on, my physical effort warring equally with the new spir- 
itual experience so that nothing remained except sen- 
tience and memory, I could see Gormala walking abreast 
me with even steps. Her eyes glared balefully with a 
fierce disappointment ; never once did she remit the vigi- 

The Mystery of the Sea 37 

lant, keen look which seemed to pierce into my very 

For a short space of time there was something of an- 
tagonism to her ; but this died away imperceptibly, and I 
neither cared nor thought about her, except when my 
attention would be called to her. I was becoming wrapped 
in the realisation of the mightier forces around me. 

Just where the lane way from the cliff joins Whin^ 
nyfold there is a steep zigzag path running down to the 
stony beach far below where the fishers keep their boats 
and which is protected from almost the wildest seas by 
the great black rock the Caudman, which fills the mid- 
dle of the little bay, leaving deep channels on either hand. 
When I was come to this spot, suddenly all the sounds of 
the night seemed to cease. The very air grew still so that 
the grasses did not move or rustle, and the waters of the 
swirling tide ceased to run in grim silence on their 
course. Even to that inner sense, which was so new to 
me that the change in everything to which it was sus- 
ceptible became at once noticeable, all things stood still. 
It was as though the spirits of earth and air and water 
were holding their breath for some rare portent. Indeed 
I noticed as my eye ranged the surface of the sea, that 
the moon track was for the time no longer rippled, but lay 
in a broad glistening band. 

The only living thing in all the wide world was, it 
seemed to me, the figure of Gormala as, with lowering 
eyes and suspended breath, she stood watching me with 
uncompromising, persistent sternness. 

Then my own heart seemed to stand still, to be a part 
of the grim silence of the waiting forces of the world. I 
was not frightened ; I was not even amazed. All seemed 
so thoroughly in keeping with the prevailing influence 
of the time that I did not feel even a moment of surprise. 

Up the steep path came a silent procession of ghostly 

38 The Mystery of the Sea 

figures, so misty of outline that through the grey green 
of their phantom being the rocks and moonlit sea were 
apparent, and even the velvet blackness of the shadows of 
the rocks did not lose their gloom. And yet each figure 
was defined so accurately that every feature, every particle 
of dress or accoutrement could be discerned. Even the 
sparkle of their eyes in that grim waste of ghostly grey 
was like the lambent flashes of phosphoric light in the 
foam of moving water cleft by a swift prow. There was 
no need for me to judge by the historical sequence of 
their attire, or by any inference of hearing ; I knew in my 
heart that these were the ghosts of the dead who had 
been drowned in the waters of the Cruden Skares. 

Indeed the moments of their passing and they were 
many for the line was of sickening length became to 
me a lesson of the long flight of time. At the first were 
skin-clad savages with long, wild hair matted; then 
others with rude, primitive clothing. And so on in 
historic order men, aye, and here and there a woman, 
too, of many lands, whose garments were of varied cut 
and substance. Red-haired Vikings and black-haired 
Celts and Phoenicians, fair-haired Saxons and swarthy 
Moors in flowing robes. At first the figures, chiefly of 
the barbarians, were not many ; but as the sad procession 
passed along I could see how each later year had brought 
its ever-growing tale of loss and disaster, and added more 
and faster to the grim harvest of the sea. A vast number 
of the phantoms had passed when there came along a 
great group which at once attracted my attention. They 
were all swarthy, and bore themselves proudly under their 
cuirasses and coats of mail, or their garb as fighting men 
of the sea. Spaniards they were, I knew from their dress, 
and of three centuries back. For an instant my heart 
leapt ; these were men of the great Armada, come up from 
the wreck of some lost galleon or patache to visit once 

The Mystery of the Sea 39 

again the glimpses of the Moon. They were of lordly 
mien, with large aquiline features and haughty eyes. As 
they passed, one of them turned and looked at me. As 
his eyes lit on me, I saw spring into them, as though he 
were quick, dread, and hate, and fear. 

Hitherto I had been impressed, awed, by the indiffer- 
ence of the passing ghosts. They had looked nowhere, 
but with steady, silent, even tread had passed on their 
way. But when this one looked at me it was a glance 
from the spirit world which chilled me to the very soul. 

But he too passed on. I stood at the head of the wind- 
ing path, having the dead man still on my shoulders and 
looking with sinking heart at the sad array of the victims 
of the Cruden Skares. I noticed that most who came 
now were seamen, with here and there a group of shores- 
men and a few women amongst them. The fishermen 
were many, and without exception wore great sea boots. 
And so with what patience I could I waited for the end. 

At length it came in the shape of a dim figure of great 
stature, and both of whose arms hung limp. The blood 
from a gash on his forehead had streamed on to his 
golden beard, and the golden eyes looked far away. With 
a shudder I saw that this was the ghost of the man whose 
body, now less warm, lay upon my shoulders; and so I 
knew that Lauchlane Macleod was dead. I was relieved 
when I saw that he did not even look at me ; though as I 
moved on, following the procession, he walked beside me 
with equal steps, stopping and moving as I stopped and 

The silence of death was upon the little hamlet of 
Whinnyfold. There was not a sign of life; not a dog 
barked as the grim procession had moved up the steep 
path or now filed across the running stream and moved 
along the footpath toward Cruden. Gormala with eager 
eyes kept watching me; and as the minutes wore on I 

40 The Mystery of the Sea 

began to resume my double action of thought, for I could 
see in her face that she was trying to reason out from 
my own expression something of what I was looking at. 
As we moved along she now began to make suggestions to 
me in a fierce whisper, evidently hoping that she might 
learn something from my acquiescence in, or negation of, 
her thought. Through that ghostly silence her living 
voice cut with the harshness of a corncrake. 

" Shearing the silence of the night with ragged edge." 

Perhaps it was for the best; looking back now on that 
awful experience, I know that no man can say what his 
mind may suffer in the aftertime who walks alone with 
the Dead. That I was strung to some iamazing pitch 
was manifested by the fact that I did not seem to feel the 
great weight which lay upon my shoulders. I have natu- 
rally vast strength and the athletic training of my youth 
had developed it highly. But the weight of an ordinary 
man is much to hold or carry for even a short time, and 
the body which I bore was almost that of a giant. 

The path across the neck of land which makes the 
Skares a promontory is flat, with here and there a deep 
cleft like a miniature ravine where the water from the 
upland rushes in flood time down to the sea. All these 
rills were now running strong, but I could hear no sound 
of murmuring water, no splash as the streams leapt over 
the edge of the cliff on the rocks below in whitening 
spray. The ghostly procession did not pause at any of 
these streams, but moved on impassively to the farther 
side where the path trends down to the sands of Cruden 
Bay. Gormala stood a moment watching my eyes as they 
swept the long line passing the angle so that I could see 
them all at once. That she guessed something was evi- 
dent from her speech : 

" They are many ; his eyes range wide ! '' I started, 

The Mystery of the Sea 41 

and she knew that she had guessed aright. This one 
guess seemed to supply her with illimitable data; she 
evidently knew something of the spirit world, though she 
could not see into its mysteries. Her next words brought 
enlightenment to me: 

" They are human spirits ; they follow the path that the 
feet o' men hae made ! " 

It was so. The procession did not float over the sur- 
face of field or sand, but took its painful way down the 
zigzag of the cliff and over the rocky path through the 
great boulders of the foreshore. When the head of it 
reached the sand, it passed along the summit of the ridge, 
just as every Sunday night the fishermen of Whinny fold 
and Collieston did in returning to their herring boats at 

The tramp across the sands was long and dreary. 
Often as I had taken that walk in rain or storm, with 
the wind almost sweeping me off my feet whilst the sand 
drift from the bent-covered hills almost cut my cheeks and 
ears, I had never felt the way to be so long or so hard to 
travel. Though I did not realise it at the time, the dead 
man's weight was beginning to tell sorely upon me. 
Across the Bay I could see the few lights in the village of 
Port Erroll that were to be seen at such a time of night ; 
and far over the water came the cold grey light which 
is the sign of the waning of the night rather than of the 
coming of the morning. 

When we came to the Hawklaw, the head of the pro- 
cession turned inward through the sandhills. Gormala, 
watching my eyes, saw it and an extraordinary change 
came over her. For an instant she was as if stricken, and 
stood stock still. Then she raised her hands in wonder, 
and said in an awed whisper : 

" The Holy Well ! They gang to St. Olaf 's well ! The 
Lammas floods will aye serve them weel." 

42 The Mystery of the Sea 

With an instinct of curiosity strong upon me I hurried 
on so as to head the procession. As I moved along the 
rough path amongst the sandhills I felt the weight of the 
burden on my shoulders grow heavier and heavier, so that 
my feet dragged as do the feet of one in a night-mare. 
As I moved on, I looked round instinctively and saw that 
the shade of Lauchlane Macleod no longer kept pace with 
me, but retained its place in the procession. Gormala's 
evil eye was once more upon me, but with her diabolical 
cunning she guessed the secret of my looking round. She 
moved along, not with me but at the rate she had been 
going as though she liked or expected to remain in jux- 
taposition to the shade of the dead man ; some purpose of 
her own was to be fulfilled. 

As I pressed on, the shades around me seemed to grow 
dimmer and dimmer still ; till at the last I could see little 
more than a film or haze. When I came to St. Olaf's 
well then merely a rough pool at the base of the high 
land that stretches back from the Hawklaw the ghostly 
mist was beginning to fade into the water. I stood hard 
by, and the weight upon my shoulders became dreadful. 
I could hardly stand; I determined, however, to hold 
on as long as I could and see what would happen. 
The dead man, too, was becoming colder! I did not 
know whether the dimming of the shadows was from 
this cause, or because the spirit of the man was farther 
away. It was possibly both, for as the silent, sad 
procession came on I could see more distinctly. When 
the wraith of the Spaniard turned and looked at me, 
he seemed once more to look with living eyes from a living 
soul. Then there was a dreary wait whilst the rest came 
along and passed in awesome stillness down into the well 
and disappeared. The weight upon my shoulders now 
became momentarily more intolerable. At last I could 
bear it no longer, and half bending I allowed the body 

The Mystery of the Sea 43 

to slip to the ground, I only holding the hands to steady 
the descent. Gormala was now opposite to me, and seeing 
what I had done leaped towards me with a loud cry. For 
one dim moment the wraith of the dead man stood 
above its earthly shell ; and then I saw the ghostly vision 
no more. 

At that instant, just as Gormala was about to touch the 
dead body, there was a loud hiss and murmur of waters. 
The whole pool burst up in a great fountain, scattering 
sand and water around for a wide space. I rushed back ; 
Gormala did the same. 

Then the waters receded again, and when I looked, the 
corpse of Lauchlane Macleod was gone. It was swal- 
lowed up in the Holy Well. 

Overcome with physical weariness and strange horror 
of the scene I sank down on the wet sand. The scene 
whirled round me. I remember no more. 


WHEN at last I looked around me I was not 
surprised at anything I saw; not even at the 
intense face of Gormala whose eyes, bright in 
the full moonlight, were searching my face more eagerly 
than ever. I was lying on the sand, and she was bending 
over me so closely that her face almost touched mine. It 
was evident, even to my half-awake sensibilities, that she 
was listening intently, lest even a whispered word from me 
should be missed. 

The witch-woman was still seemingly all afire, but withal 
there was manifested in her face and bearing a sense of 
disappointment which comforted me. I waited a few 
minutes until I felt my brain clear, and my body rested 
from the intolerable strain which it had undergone in 
carrying that terrific burden from Whinnyfold. 

When I looked up again Gormala recognised the change 
in me, and her own expression became different. The 
baleful glitter of her eyes faded, and the blind, unreason- 
ing hate and anger turned to keen inquiry. She was not 
now merely baffled in her hopes, and face to face with an 
unconscious man; there was at least a possibility of her 
gaining some knowledge, and all the energy of her nature 
woke again as she spoke: 

" So ye are back wi' the moon and me. Whither went 
ye when ye lay down upon the sand. Was it back ye 
went, or forrart; wi' the ghaists into the Holy Well and 


The Ministers of the Doom 45 

beyond in their manifold course; or back to their comin* 
f rae the sea and all that could there be told ? Oh ! mon, 
what it is to me that any ither can gang like that into 
spirit land, and me have to wait here by my lanes; to 
wring my hands an' torture my hairt in broken hopes ! " 
I answered her question with another : 

" How do you mean that ghosts go into the well and 
beyond ? " Her answer was at the first given in a stern 
tone which became, however, softer, as she went on. 

" Knew ye not, that the Lammas Floods are the car- 
riers o' the Dead ; that on Lammas nicht the Dead can win 
their way to where they will, under the airth by wherever 
there is rinnin' watter. Happy be they that can gain 
a Holy Well, an' so pass into the bowels o' the airth to 
where they list." 

" And how and when do they return? " 

" Dinna jest wi' Fate an' the Dead. They in their scope 
can gang and return again ; no een, save your ain, o' man 
or Seer has seen the method o' their gangin'. No een, 
even yours, can see them steal out again in the nicht, 
when the chosen graves that they hae sought hae taken 
from them the dross o' the airth." I felt it was not 
wise to talk further, so without a word I turned and 
walked home by the sheep tracks amongst the sand hills. 
Now and again I stumbled in a rabbit hole, and as I 
would sink forward the wet bent would brush against my 

The walk back in the dark dawn seemed interminable. 
All this time my mind was in a turmoil. I did not even 
seem to remember anything definitely, or think consecu- 
tively; but facts and fancies swept through my mind 
in a chaotic whirl. When I got to the house, I undressed 
quickly and got into bed; I must have instantly fallen 
into a deep sleep. 

Next afternoon I walked by the shore to Whinnyfold. 

46 The Mystery of the Sea 

It was almost impossible to believe that I was looking at 
the same place as on last night. I sat on the cliff where 
I had sat last night, the hot August sun and the cool 
breeze from the sea being inconceivably soothing. So I 
thought and thought. . . . The lack of sufficient 
sleep the night before and the tired feeling of the physical 
strain I had undergone my shoulders still ached told 
upon me, and I fell asleep. 

When I waked Gormala stood in front of me. 

After a long pause she spoke: 

" I see that ye remember, else would ye ha' spoken to 
me. Will ye no tell me all that ye saw? Then, wi' your 
Seer's een an' my knowledge o' the fact we may thegither 
win oot the great Secret o' the Sea." I felt stronger than 
ever the instinctive conviction that I must remain keenly 
on guard with her. So I said nothing; waiting thus I 
should learn something, whether from her words or her 
silence. She could not stand this. I saw her colour rise 
till her face was all aglow with a red flush that shamed 
the sunset; and at last the anger blazed in her eyes. It 
was in a threatening tone which she spoke, though the 
words were themselves sufficiently conciliatory : 

" The Secrets o' the Sea are to be won ; and tae thee 
and me it is given to win them. What hae been is but an 
earnest of what will be. For ages ithers have tried to win 
but hae failed ; and if we fail too for lack o' purpose or 
because ye like me not, then to ithers will come in time 
the great reward. For the secrets are there, and the 
treasures lie awaiting. The way is open for those to 
whom are the Gifts. Throw not away the favour of the 
Fates. For if they be kind to give where they will, they 
are hard to thwart, and their revenge is sure ! " I must 
confess that her words began to weaken my purpose. 
In one way inexorable logic was on her side. Powers 
such as were mine were surely given for some purpose. 

The Ministers of the Doom 47 

Might I not be wrong in refusing to use them. If the 
Final Cause of my powers were purposeful, then 
might not a penalty be exacted from me because I had 
thwarted the project. Gormala, with that diabolical cun- 
ning of hers, evidently followed the workings of my mind, 
for her face lit up. How she knew, I know not, but I do 
know that her eyes never left mine. I suppose it may be 
that the eyes which have power to see at times the inward- 
ness of things have some abnormal power also of ex- 
pressing the thoughts behind them. I felt, however, that 
I was in danger. All my instincts told me that once in 
Gormala's power I should rue it, so I spoke out on the 
instant strongly : 

" I shall have nothing to do with you whatever. Last 
night when you refused to help me with the wounded 
man whom you had followed, remember, for weeks, 
hoping for his death I saw you in your true colours ; 
and I mean to have nothing to do with you." Fierce 
anger blazed again in her eyes; but again she controlled 
herself and spoke with an appearance of calm, though it 
was won with great effort, as I could see by the tension 
of her muscles : 

" An' so ye would judge me that I would not help ye to 
bring the Dead to life again ! I knew that Lauchlane was 
dead ! Aye ! and ye kent it too as weel as I did masel'. 
It needed no Seer to tell that, when ye brocht him up the 
rocks oot o' the tide. Then, when he was dead, for why 
wad ye no use him ? Do the Dead themselves object that 
they help the livin' to their ends while the blood is yet 
warm in them? Is it ye that object to the power of the 
Dead ? You whose veins have the power o' divination of 
the quick; you to whom the heavens themselves opened, 
and the airth and the watters under the airth, when the 
spirit of the Dead that ye carried walked beside ye as ye 
ganged to St. Olaf's Well. An' as for me, what hae I 

48 The Mystery of the Sea 

done that you should object. I saw, as you did, that 
Lauchlane's sands were run. You and I are alike in 
that. To us baith was given to see, by signs that ages 
have made sacred, that Fate had spoken in his ears 
though he had himself not heard the Voice. Nay more, 
to me was only given to see that the Voice had spoken. 
But to you was shown how, and when, and where the 
Doom should come, though you yersel' that can read 
the future as no ither that is known, canna read the past ; 
and so could na tell what a lesser one would ha' guessed 
at lang syne. I followed the Doom; you followed the 
Doom. I by my cunnin'; you when ye waked frae yer 
sleep, followin' yer conviction, till we met thegither for 
Lauchlane's death, amid Lammas floods and under the 
gowden moon on the gowden sea. Through his aid aye, 
young sir for wi'oot a fresh corp to aid, no Seer o' airth 
could hae seen as ye did, that lang line o' ghaists ye saw 
last nicht. Through his aid the wonders o' the heavens 
and the deep, o' airth and air, was opened till ye. Wha 
then be ye that condemn me that only saw a sign an' 
followed ? Gin I be guilty, what be you ? " 

It would be impossible to describe the rude, wild, natu- 
ral eloquence with which this was spoken. In the sun- 
set, the gaunt woman seemed to tower above me ; and as 
she moved her arms, the long shadows of them stretched 
over the green down before us and away over the wrinkled 
sea as though her gestures were, giant like, appealing to 
all nature. 

I was distinctly impressed, for all that she said was 
quite true. She had in reality done nothing that the law 
would call wrong. Lauchlane's death was in no possible 
way due to any act of hers. She had only watched him ; 
and as he did not even know that she watched he could not 
have been influenced in any way by it or by her. As to 
my own part! Her words gave me a new light. Why 

The Ministers of the Doom 49 

had I risen in the night and come out to Whinnyfold? 
Was it intuition, or a call from the witch-woman, who 
in such case must have had some hypnotic influence over 
me? Or was it ? 

I stood appalled at the unspoken thought. Could it 
be that the powers of Nature which had been revealed 
to me in the dread hour had not only sentience but 
purpose ! 

I felt that my tone was more conciliatory as I an- 
swered her: 

" I did not mean to blame you for anything you had 
done. I see now that your wrong was only passive." 
I felt that my words were weak, and my feeling was 
emphasised by the scorn of her reply : 

"' My wrang was only passive ! My wrang ! What 
wrang hae I done that you should sit in jugment on me. 
Could I hae helpit it when Lauchlane met his death amang 
the rocks in the tide. Why you yoursel' sat here beside 
me, an' ye no helpit him or tried to, strong man though 
ye be, that could carry his corp frae here to St. Olaf's 
Well; for ye kenned that no livin' arm could aid him 
in that hour o' doom. Aye! laddie, the Fates know 
their wark o'er weel to hae ony such betterment o' their 
plans ! An' div ye think that by any act o' yer ain, or by 
any refusal o' act or speech, ye can baffle the purpose 
o' the Doom. Ye are yet young and ye must learn ; then 
learn it now whiles ye can, that when the Word is spoken 
all follows as ordained. Aye! though the Ministers o' 
the Doom be many an' various, an' though they hae to 
gather in ane from many ages an' frae the furthermost 
ends o' the airth ! " 

Gormala's logic and the exactness of her statement 
were too much for me. I felt that I owed her some rep- 
aration and told her so. She received it in her gaunt 
way with the dignity of an empress. 

50 The Mystery of the Sea 

But there her dignity stopped; for seeing that she 
had got a lever in her hands she began at once, woman- 
like, to use it. Without any hesitation or delay she asked 
me straightly to tell Her what I had seen the night before. 
The directness of her questioning was my best help; 
my heart hardened and my lips closed. She saw my 
answer before I had spoken it, and turned away with an 
eloquent, rugged gesture of despair. She felt that her 
last hope was gone; that her. last bolt had been sped in 

With her going, the link with last night seemed to 
break, and as she passed up the road the whole of that 
strange experience became dimmer and dimmer. 

1 walked home by Cruden sands in a sort of dream. 
The chill and strain of the night before seemed to affect 
me more and more with each hour. Feeling fatigued and 
drowsy I lay down on my bed and sank into a heavy, 
lethargic sleep. 

The last thing I remember is the sounding of the din- 
ner-gong, and a dim resolution not to answer its 
call. . . . 


It was weeks after, when the fever had passed away, 
that I left my bed in the Kilmarnock Arms. 



THE last week in June of next year, 1898, found me 
back in Cruden. My own house was in process 
of building. I had purposely arranged with the 
builders that the fitting up and what the conveyancers 
call " beautifyings " should not be done until I should 
be on the spot myself next year, to be consulted about 
everything. Every day I went over to see the place and 
become familiar with it before the plans for decoration 
should be taken in hand. Still there was no enjoyment 
in getting wet every time I went and came, or in remain- 
ing in wet clothes, so that my day was mainly spent at 

One of my first visits was to Peterhead which seemed 
to be in a state of absolute activity, for the herring fishing 
had been good and trade of all kinds was brisk. At 
the market place which was half full of booths, could 
be had almost everything required for the needs or com- 
fort of life such as it can be on a fishing boat. Fruit 
and all sorts of summer luxuries were abundant. Being 
Saturday the boats had returned early and had got their 
nets away to the drying-grounds, and the men had been 
able to shave and dress tidily. The women, too, had 
got their dressing done early the fish first and them- 
selves afterwards. 

For awhile I wandered about aimlessly amongst the 
.booths, with that sort of unsatisfaction upon me which 


52 The Mystery of the Sea 

had of late been the prelude to many of the manifesta- 
tions of the power of Second Sight. This used to be 
just as if something within me was groping or search- 
ing unsuccessfully for something unknown, the sat- 
isfaction coming with the realization of the objective of 
the search. 

Presently I came to an itinerant auctioneer who was 
dealing with a small cart-load of odds and ends, evi- 
dently picked up in various places. His auction or 
" roup " was on the " Dutch " plan ; an extravagant price, 
according to his own idea, being placed on each article, 
and the offer decreasing in default of bidders. The auc- 
tioneer was ready with his tongue; his patter showed 
how well he understood the needs and ideas of the class 
whom he addressed. 

" Here's the works of the Reverend Robert William 
McAlister of Trottermaverish in twal volumes, wantin' 
the first an' the last twa; three damaged by use, but still 
full of power in dealing with the speeritual necessities o' 
men who go down to the great deep in ships. A sermon 
for every day in the year, in the Gaelic for them as 
has na got the English, an' in good English for them as 
has. How much for the twal volumes, wantin' but three ? 
Not a bawbee less than nine shellin', goin' goin'. Wha 
says eight shellin' for the lot. Seven shellin' an' no less. 
Goin' for six. Five shellin' for you sir. Any bidder 
at four shellin'. Not a bawbee less than three shellin'; 
Half a croon. Any bidder at twa shellin'. Gone for 
you sir ! " the nine volumes were handed over to a grave- 
looking old man, and the two shillings which he produced 
from a heavy canvas bag duly pocketed by the auctioneer. 

Everything he had, found some buyer; even a blue- 
book seemed to have its attraction. The oddness of some 
of the odd lots was occasionally amusing. When I had 
been round the basins of the harbour and had seen the 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 53 

dressings and barrelling of the fish, I again came across 
the auctioneer in the market place. He had evidently 
been using his time well, for the cart was almost empty. 
He was just putting up the last article, an old oak chest 
which up to now he had used as a sort of table on which 
to display the object for sale. An old oak chest has 
always charms for me, and I was about furnishing a 
house. I stepped over, opened the lid and looked in; 
there were some papers tossed on the bottom of it. I 
asked the auctioneer if the contents went with the chest, 
my real object being to get a look at the lock which 
seemed a very old one of steel, though it was much dam- 
aged and lacked a key. I was answered with a torrent of 
speech in true auctioneer fashion : 

" Aye, good master. Take the lot just as it stands. 
An oaken kist, hundreds of years aud and still worthy a 
rest in the house-place of any man who has goods to 
guard. It wants a key, truth to tell; but the lock is 
a fine aud one and you can easy fit a key. Moreover the 
contents, be they what they may, are yours also. Seel 
aud letters in some foreign tongue French I think. Yel- 
low in age an' the ink faded. Somebody's love letters, I'm 
thinkin'. Come now, young men here's a chance. Maybe 
if ye're no that fameeliar in writin' yer hairts oot to the 
lassies, ye can get some hints frae these. They can learn 
ye, I warrant ! " 

I was not altogether unaccustomed to auctions, so I 
affected a nonchalance which I did not feel. Indeed, I 
was unaccountably excited. It might have been that my 
feelings and memories had been worked up by the seeing 
again the pier where first I had met Lauchlane Macleod, 
and the moving life which then had environed him. I felt 
coming over me that strange impalpable influence or tend- 
ency which had been a part of my nature in the days im- 
mediately before the drowning of the Out-islander. Even 

54 The Mystery of the Sea 

as I looked, I seemed to feel rather than see fixed upon 
me the baleful eyes of the man in the ghostly procession 
on that Lammas eve. I was recalled to myself by the 
voice of the auctioneer: 

" The kist and its contents will be sold for a guinea 
and not a bawbee less." 

" I take it ! " I cried impulsively. The auctioneer who 
in his wildest dreams had no hope of such a price seemed 
startled into momentary comparative silence. He quickly 
recovered himself and said : " The kist is yours, good 
master ; and that concludes the roup ! " 

I looked around to see if there was present any one 
who could even suggest in any way the appearance of 
the man in the ghostly 'procession. But there was no 
such person. I met only mirabile dictu, the greedy eyes 
of Gormala MacNeil. 

That evening in my room at the Kilmarnock Arms, I 
examined the papers as well as I could by lamplight. They 
were in an old-fashioned style of writing with long tails 
and many flourishes which made an added difficulty to 
me. The language was Spanish, which tongue I did not 
know ; but by aid of French and what little Latin I could 
remember I made out a few words here and there. The 
dates ranged between 1598 and 1610. The letters, of 
which there were eight, were of manifest unimportance, 
short notes directed. " Don de Escoban " and merely ar- 
ranging meetings. Then there were a number of loose 
pages of some printed folio, used perhaps as some kind 
of tally or possibly a cipher, for they were marked all 
over with dots. The lot was completed by a thin, narrow 
strip of paper covered with figures possibly some 
account. Papers of three centuries ago were valu- 
able, were it only for their style of writing. So I locked 
them all up carefully before I went to bed, with full 
intention to examine them thoroughly some day. The 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 55 

appearance of Gormala just at the time when I had be- 
come possessed of them seemed to connect them in some 
mysterious way with the former weird experiences in 
which she had so prominent a part. 

That night I dreamed as usual, though my dreaming 
was of a scattered and incoherent character. Gormala's 
haunting presence and all that had happened during the 
day, especially the buying of the chest with the mysteri- 
ous papers, as well as what had taken place since my 
arrival at Cruden was mixed up in perpetually recurring 
images with the beginning of my Second Sight and the 
death of Lauchlane Macleod. Again, and again, and 
again, I saw with the eyes of memory, in fragmentary 
fashion, the grand form of the fisherman standing in a 
blaze of gold, and later fighting his way through a still 
sea of gold, of which the only reliefs were the scattered 
piles of black rock and the pale face patched with blood. 
Again, and again, and again, the ghostly procession came 
up the steep path from the depths of the sea, and passed 
in slow silent measure into St. Olaf's Well. 

Gormala's words were becoming a truth to me; that 
above and around me was some force which was impelling 
to an end all things of which I could take cognizance, 
myself amongst the rest. Here I stopped, suddenly ar- 
rested by the thought that it was Gormala herself who 
had set my mind working in this direction ; and the words 
with which she had at once warned and threatened me 
when after the night of Lauchlane's death we stood at 
Witsennan point : 

" When the Word is spoken all follows as ordained. 
Aye! though the Ministers of the Doom may be many 
and various, and though they may have to gather in 
one from many ages and from the furthermost ends of 
the earth!" 

The next few days were delightfully fine, and life 

56 The Mystery of the Sea 

was one long enjoyment. On Monday evening there 
was a sunset which I shall never forget. The whole 
western sky seemed ablaze with red and gold; great 
masses of cloud which had rolled up seemed like 
huge crimson canopies looped with gold over the sun 
throned on the western mountains. I was standing on 
the Hawklaw, whence I could get a good view ; beside me 
was a shepherd whose flock patched the steep green hill- 
side as with snow. I turned to him and said: 

" Is not that a glorious sight ? " 

" Aye ! 'Tis grand. But like all beauty o' the warld 
it fadeth into naught ; an' is only a mask for dool." 

" You do not seem to hold a very optimistic opinion 
of things generally." He deliberately stoked himself 
from his snuff mull before replying: 

" Optimist nor pessimist am I, eechie nor ochie. I'm 
thinkin' the optimist and the pessimist are lears alike; 
takin' a pairt for the whole, an' so guilty o' the logical 
sin o' a particulari ad universale. Sophism they misca' 
it; as if there were anything but a lee in a misstatement 
o' fac'. Fac's is good eneuch for me; an' that, let me 
tell ye, is why I said that the splendour o' the sunset is 
but a mask for dool. Look yon! The clouds are all 
gold and glory, like a regiment goin' oot to the battle. 
But bide ye till the sun drops, not only below the horizon 
but beyond the angle o' refraction. Then what see ye? 
All grim and grey, and waste, and dourness and dool; 
like the army as it returns frae the fecht. There be some 
that think that because the sun sets fine i' the nicht, it 
will of necessity rise fine i' the morn. They seem to no 
ken that it has to traverse one half o' the warld ere it 
returns; and that the averages of fine and foul, o' light 
and dark hae to be aye maintained. It may be that the 
days o' fine follow ane anither fast ; or that the foul times 
linger likewise. But in the end, the figures of fine and 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 57 

foul tottle up, in accord wi' their ordered sum. What 
use is it. then, to no tak' heed o' fac's? Weel I ken, that 
the fac' o' the morrow will differ sair frae the fac's o' this 
nicht. Not in vain hae I seen the wisdom and glory o' 
the Lord in sunsets an' dawns wi'oot learnin' the lessons 
that they teach. Mon, I tell ye that it's all those glories 
o' pomp and pageantry all the lasceevious luxuries o' 
colour an' splendour, that are the forerinners o' disaster. 
Do ye no see the streaks o' wind rinnin' i' the sky, frae 
the east to the west ? Do ye ken what they portend ? I'm 
tellin' ye, that before the sun sets the morrow nicht there 
will be ruin and disaster on all this side o' Scotland. 
The storm will no begin here. It is perhaps ragin' the 
noo away to the east. But it will come quick, most likely 
wi' the risin' o' the tide; and woe be then to them as 
has no made safe wi' all they can. Hark ye the stillness ! " 
Shepherd-like he took no account of his own sheep whose 
ceaseless bleating, sounding in every note of the scale, 
broke the otherwise universal silence of nature. " I'm 
thinkin' it's but the calm before the storm. Weel sir, 
I maun gang. The yowes say it is time for the hame 
comin'. An' mark ye, the collie! He looks at me re- 
proachful, as though I had forgot the yowes! My sair- 
vice to ye, sir ! " 

" Good night " I answered, " I hope I shall meet you 

" I'm thinkin' the same masel'. I hae much enjoyed yer 
pleasin' converse. I hope it's mony a crack we yet may 
hae thegither ! " And so my philosophical egoist moved 
homewards, blissfully unconscious of the fact that my 
sole contribution to the " pleasing converse " was the re- 
mark that he did not seem optimistic. 

The whole mass of his charge moved homewards at 
an even footpace, the collie making frantic dashes here 
and there to keep his flock headed in the right direction. 

58 The Mystery of the Sea 

Presently I saw the herd pouring like a foam-white noisy 
river across the narrow bridge over the Water of Cruden. 

The next morning was fine, very hot, and of an unusual 
stillness. Ordinarily I should have rejoiced at such a 
day; but the warning of the erudite and philosophical 
shepherd made me mistrust. To me the worst of the 
prophecy business was that it became a disturbing influ- 
ence. To-day, perforce, because it was fine, I had to 
expect that it would end badly. About noon I walked 
over to Whinnyfold; it being Saturday I knew that the 
workmen would have gone away early, and I wanted 
to have the house to myself so that I could go over it 
quietly and finally arrange the scheme of colouring. I 
remained there some hours, and then, when I had made 
up my mind as to things, I set off for the hotel. 

In those few hours the weather had changed marvel- 
lously. Busy within doors and thinking of something 
else, I had not noticed the change, which must have 
been gradual however speedy. The heat had increased 
till it was most oppressive; uid yet through it all there 
was now and then a cold shiver in the air which almost 
made me wince. All was still, so preternaturally still that 
occasional sounds seemed to strike the ear as disturb- 
ances. The screaming of the seagulls had mainly ceased, 
and the sound of breaking waves on rocks and shore was 
at variance with the silence over the sea; the sheep and 
cattle were so quiet that now and again the " moo " of a 
cow or the bleat of a sheep seemed strangely single. As 
I stood looking out seaward there seemed to be rising a 
cold wind ; I could not exactly feel it, but I knew it was 
there. As I came down the path over the beach I thought 
I heard some one calling a faint far-away sound. At 
first I did not heed it, as I knew it could not be any one 
calling to me; but when I found it continued, I looked 
round. There is at least a sufficient amount of curiosity 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 59 

in each of us to make us look round when there is a call- 
ing. At first I could not locate it; but then sight came 
to aid of sound, and I saw out on a rock two women 
waving handkerchiefs. The calling manifestly came from 
them. It was not good for any one to be isolated on a 
rock at a time when a storm was coming up ; and I knew 
well the rocks which these women were amongst. I 
hurried on as quickly as I could, for there was a good 
way to go to reach them. 

Near the south end of Cruden Bay there is a cluster 
of rocks which juts out from shore, something like a 
cock's spur. Beyond this cluster are isolated rocks, many 
of them invisible at high tide. These form part of the 
rocky system of the Skares, which spread out fan-like 
from the point of Whinnyfold. Amongst these rocks the 
sea runs at change of tide with great force; more than 
once when swimming there I had been almost carried 
away. What it was to be carried away amongst the 
rocks of the Skares I knew too well from the fate of 
Lauchlane Macleod. I ran as fast as I could down the 
steep pathway and along the boulder-strewn beach till 
I came to the Sand Craigs. As I ran I could see from 
the quick inrush of waves, which though not much 
at present were gathering force every instant, that the 
storm which the shepherd had predicted was coming 
fast upon us. In such case every moment was precious. 
Indeed it might mean life; and so in breathless haste I 
scrambled over the rocks. Behind the main body of 
the Sand Craigs are two isolated rocks whose tops are 
just uncovered at high tide, but which are washed with 
every wave. The near one of these is at low water 
not separated from the main mass, but only joined by a 
narrow isthmus a few feet long, over which the first waves 
of the turning tide rush vigourously, for it is in the direct 
sweep of the flowing tide. Beyond this, some ninety 

60 The Mystery of the Sea 

or a hundred feet oi- and separated by a deep channel, 
is the outer rock, always in island form. From this spot 
at low water is the best view of the multitudinous rocks 
of the Skares. On all sides they rise round you as you 
stand, the granite seeming yellow with the washing of the 
sea between the lines of high and low water; above the 
latter the black seaweed ceases growing. This island 
is so hidden by the higher rocks around it that it cannot 
be seen from any part of Cruden Bay or from Port Erroll 
across it; it can only be seen from the path leading to 
Whinnyfold. It was fortunate that some one had been 
passing just then, or the efforts of the poor women to 
attract attention might have been made in vain. 

When I reached the Sand Craigs I scrambled at once 
to the farthest point of the rocks, and came within 
sight of the isolated rock. Fortunately it was low water. 
The tide had only lately turned and was beginning to 
flow rapidly through the rocks. When I had scrambled 
on the second last rock I was only some thirty yards 
from the outermost one and could see clearly the two 
women. One was stout and elderly, the other young and 
tall and of exceeding beauty. The elderly one was in 
an almost frantic condition of fright; but the younger 
one, though her face was deadly pale and I could see 
from the anxious glances which she kept casting round 
her that she was far from at ease was outwardly calm. 
For an instant there was a curious effect as her pale 
face framed in darl: hair stood out against the foam 
of the tide churning round the far off rocks. It seemed 
as though her head were dressed with white flowers. As 
there was no time to lose, I threw off my coat and shoes 
and braced myself for a swim. I called as I did so: 
"What has become of your boat?" The answer came 
back in a clear, young voice of manifestly American into- 
nation : 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 6 1 

" It drifted away. It has gone off amongst those 
rocks at the headland." 

I had for a moment an idea that my best plan might 
be to fetch it first, but a glance at the distance and at 
the condition of the sea made me see the futility of any 
such hope. Already the waves were rising so fast that 
they were beginning to sweep over the crest of the 
rocks. Even that in front of me where the women 
stood was now topped by almost every wave. Without 
further delay I jumped into the sea and swam across. 
The girl gave me a hand up the rock, and I stood beside 
them, the old lady holding tight to me whilst I held the 
younger one and the rising waves washing round our 
feet. For a moment or two I considered the situation, 
and then asked them if either of them could swim. The 
answer was in the negative. " Then," I said decisively, 
" you must leave yourselves to me, and I shall swim 
across with each of you in turn." The old lady groaned. 
I pointed out that there was no other way, and that if 
we came at once it would not be difficult, as the distance 
was short and the waves were not as yet troublesome. 
I tried to treat the matter as though it were a nice holiday 
episode so that I might^keep up their spirits; but all the 
same I felt gravely anxious. The distance to swim was 
only some thirty yards, but the channel was deep, and 
the tide running strong. Moreover the waves were rising, 
and we should have to get a foothold on the slippery sea- 
weed-covered rock. However there was nothing to be 
done but to hasten; and as I was considering how best 
I should take the old lady across I said : 

" What a pity it is that we haven't even a strong cord, 
and then we could pull each other across." The girl 
jumped at the idea and said: 

" There was plenty in the boat, but of course it is 
gone. Still there should be a short piece here. I took 

62 The Mystery of the Sea 

care to fasten the painter to a piece of rock; but like 
a woman forgot to see that the other end was fixed 
to the boat, so that when the tide turned she drifted 
away with the stream. The fast end should be here still." 
When the coming wave had rolled on she pointed to a 
short piece of rope tied round a jutting piece of rock; 
its loose end swayed to and fro with every wave. I 
jumped for it at once, for I saw a possible way out of 
our difficulty; even if the rope were short, so was the 
distance, and its strands ravelled might cover the width 
of the channel. I untied the rope as quickly as I could. 
It was not an easy task, for the waves made it impossible 
to work except for a few seconds at a time; however, I 
got it free at last and pulled it up. It was only a frag- 
ment some thirty feet in length ; but my heart leaped for I 
saw my way clear now. The girl saw it too and said at 

" Let me help you." I gave her one end of the rope 
and we commenced simultaneously to ravel the piles. It 
was a little difficult to do, standing as we did upon the 
uneven surface of the rock with the waves rushing over 
our feet and the old lady beside us groaning and moan- 
ing and imploring us to hasten. Mostly she addressed 
herself to me, as in some way the deus ex machina and 
thus superior to the occasion where helpless women were 
concerned; but occasionally the wail was directed to her 
companion, who would then, even in that time of stress 
and hurry, spare a moment to lay a comforting hand on 
her as she said: 

"Hush! oh hush! Do not say anything, dear. You 
will only frighten yourself. Be brave ! " and such phrases 
of kindness and endearment. Once the girl stopped as 
a wave bigger than the rest broke over her feet. The old 
lady tried to still her shriek into a moan as she held on 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 63 

to her, saying " Oh Miss Anita ! Oh Miss Anita ! " plain- 
tively over and over again. 

At last we had ravelled the four strands of the rope 
and I began to knot them together. The result was a 
rope long enough to reach from rock to rock, though it 
was in places of very doubtful strength. I made a big 
loop at one end of it and put it over the stout lady's 
head and under her armpits. I cautioned both women 
not to tax the cord too severely by a great or sudden 
strain. The elder lady protested against going first, but 
was promptly negatived by the young lady, whose wishes 
on the subject were to me a foregone conclusion. I 
took the loose end of the rope and diving into the water 
swam across to the other rock upon the top of which I 
scrambled with some little trouble, for the waves, though 
not as yet in themselves dangerous, made difficult any 
movement which exposed me to their force. I signed to 
the old lady to slide into the sea which, assisted by the 
girl, she did very pluckily. She gasped and gurgled a 
good deal and clutched the loop with a death grip; but 
I kept a steady even strain on the rope whose strength 
I mistrusted. In a lew seconds she was safely across, 
and I was pulling her up by the hands up the rock. When 
she was firmly fixed I gave her the loose end of the cord 
to hold and swam back with the loop. The girl did not 
delay or give any trouble. As she helped me up the 
rock I could not but notice what strength she had; her 
grip of my wet hand was firm and strong, and there 
was in it no quiver of anxiety. I felt that she had no 
care for herself, now that her companion was safe. I 
signalled to the old lady to be ready ; the girl slipped into 
the water, I going in at the same time and swimming 
beside her. The old lady pulled zealously. So absorbed 
was she in her work that she did not heed my warning 

64 The Mystery of the Sea 

cry not to pull too hard. She pulled as though on her 
strength rested the issue of life and death ; with the result 
that before we were a third of the way across the rope 
broke and she fell sitting on the rock behind her. For an 
instant the girl was submerged and came up gasping. 
In the spasmodic impulse common at such moments she 
gripped me so hard round the neck that I felt we were 
both in danger. Before we sank I wrenched, though 
with some difficulty her hands away from me, so that 
when we rose I had her at arm's length. For a few 
seconds I held her so that she could get her breath; and 
as I did so I could hear the old lady screaming out in an 
agonised way: 

" Marjory ! Marjory ! Marjory ! " With her breath 
came back the girl's reason, and she left herself to me 
passively. As I held her by the shoulder, a wave sweep- 
ing over the rock took us, and in my sudden effort to 
hold her I tore away the gown at her throat. It was 
quite evident her wits were all about her now for she 
cried out suddenly: 

" Oh, my brooch ! my brooch ! " There was no time to 
waste and no time for questions. When a man has to 
swim for two in a choppy sea, and when the other one 
is a fully clothed woman, there is little to waste of 
strength or effort. So I swam as I had never done, and 
brought her up to the rock where the old lady helped her 
to scramble to her feet. When I had got my breath I 
asked her about her brooch. She replied : 

" I would not have lost it for all the world. It is an 

" Was it gold ? " I asked, for I wanted to know its 
appearance as I intended to dive for it. 

" Yes! " she said, and without another word I jumped 
into the channel again to swim to the outer rock, for 

From Other Ages and the Ends of the Earth 65 

it was close there it must have been lost and I could 
dive from there. The channel between the rocks has a 
sandy bottom, and it would be easy to see the gold. 
As I went she called out to me to come back, not to mind, 
that she would rather lose it a thousand times than have 
me run any risk, and so forth; things mightily pleasant 
to hear when spoken by such lips. For myself I had only 
exultation. I had got off both the women without acci- 
dent, and the sea was as yet, not such as to give any 
concern to a good swimmer. I dived from the rock 
and got bottom easily, the depth being only ten or twelve 
feet; and after a few seconds looking round me I saw 
the gleam of gold. When I had risen and swam to the 
inner rock the two women pulled me up to my feet. 

When I gave her the brooch the young lady pressed it 
to her lips, and turning to me with tears in her eyes said : 

" Oh you brave man ! You kind, brave man ! I would 
not have lost this for anything I call mine. Thank you 
that you have saved our lives; and that you have saved 
this for me." Then with girlish impulsiveness and un- 
premeditation she put up her face and kissed me. 

That moment, with her wet face to mine, was the 
happiest of my life. 


THE girl's kiss was so spontaneous and so natural 
that it could not convey any false impression to 
me. It was a manifest expression of gratitude, 
and that only. Nevertheless it set my heart beating and 
my veins tingling with delight. From that instant I did 
not feel quite a stranger to the giver; nor could I ever 
feel as quite a stranger again. Something of the same 
idea may have passed through the girl's mind, for she 
blushed and looked around her shyly; but, with a proud 
lifting of her head and a slight stamp of her foot on 
the rock, she put the matter behind her, for the present. 
The old lady, in the midst of her concern for her com- 
panion and herself, was able to throw a glance of dis- 
approval on me, as though I had done something wrong; 
from which I gathered that the younger lady was not 
only very dear to her, but held in some sort of unusual 
respect as well. It was peculiar that she should in the 
midst of her present condition be able to give a thought 
to so trivial a thing. For though death did not now stare 
her in the face, she was cold and wet; the rock she 
stood on was hard and slippery, and the foam of the 
breaking waves was even now curling around her feet. 

She looked about her apprehensively ; she did not know 
whether or no we were on another isolated rock. I re- 
assured her on this subject, and we scrambled as quickly 
as we could over the rocks on our way shoreward. The 


A Run on the Beach 67 

elder lady took up most of my time. Here and there in 
a difficult place, for the wind by now blew so strongly 
that one found it hard to balance oneself as is necessary 
when walking on rocks, I offered the younger my hand. 
At first she firmly declined ; but then, manifestly thinking 
it churlish, she relented and let me help her. That kiss 
was evidently rankling in her mind. 

Both the women breathed more freely when we had 
reached the shore and stood secure from the sea. And 
indeed by this time the view, as we looked back, was 
enough to frighten one. Great waves topped with white 
were rolling in from as far as we could see; dashing 
over the rocks, sending up here and there white towers 
of spray, or rolling in on the flat shore in front of us with 
an ominous roar. Woe betide any one who might be 
isolated now on any rock beyond; he would be swept 
off, and beaten on the rocks. The old lady groaned as 
she saw it, and then said audibly" a prayer of thankful- 
ness. Even the girl grew white for a moment; then, 
to my secret joy, unconsciously she drew closer to me. I 
took control of the party. 

" Come," I said, " you mustn't stand here in your wet 
clothes. Hurry to the hotel and get dried. You will 
get your death of cold. We must all run! Or hasten, 
at all events ! " I added, as I took in the dimensions of 
the elder lady. 

" We have left our trap at the hotel " said the younger 
lady as we began to walk quickly in the direction of Port 

As we were moving off it suddenly struck me that Gor- 
mala might have seen the episode of the rescue. The 
very thought of such a thing filled me with such dismay 
that I groaned aloud. Not for all the world would I have 
had her have a hand in this ; it was too sacred too de- 
lightful too much apart from ordinary things! Whilst 

68 The Mystery of the Sea 

I was lost in a reverie of inexpressible sweetness for 
perhaps two or three seconds altogether, I was recalled 
to myself by the voice of the girl who came close to 

" Are you hurt ? Please tell me if you are. I am a 
First Aid." 

" Hurt ? " I asked, surprised " not at all. What on 
earth makes you think so ? " 

" I heard you groan ! " 

" Oh that " I began with a smile. Then I stopped, 

for again the haunting fear of Gormala's interference 
closed over my heart like a wet mist. With the fear, 
however, came a resolution ; I would not have any doubt 
to torment me. In my glance about the shore, as we 
came off the rocks on to the beach, I had not seen a 
sign of anyone. At this part of the shore the sandhills 
have faded away into a narrow flat covered with bent- 
grass, beyond which the land slopes up directly to the 
higher plain. There was not room or place for any one 
to hide; even one lying amongst the long bents could 
be seen at a glance from above. Without a word I turned 
to the left and ran as quickly as I could across the beach 
and up the steep bank of the sandy plateau. With a 
certain degree of apprehension, and my heart beating like 
a trip-hammer I had certainly taken this matter with 
much concern I looked around. Then I breathed freely ; 
there was not a sign of anyone as far as I could see. The 
wind, now coming fiercely in from the sea, swept the 
tall bent-grass till it lay over, showing the paler green 
of its under side ; the blue-green, metallic shimmer which 
marks it, and which painters find it so hard to reproduce, 
had all vanished under the stress. 

I ran back to join the ladies. The elder one had 
continued walking stolidly along the shore, leaving a 
track of wet on the half dry sand as she went; but the 

A Run on the Beach 69 

younger one had lingered and came towards me as I 

"I hope there was nothing wrong?" she asked in a 
most natural way. 

" No," I said it without thinking, for there was some- 
thing about the girl which made me feel as if we were 
old friends, and I spoke to her unconsciously in this strain. 
" It's all right. She's not there ! " 

" Who ? " she asked with unconsciousness of any ar- 
riere pensee, an unconsciousness similar to my own. 

" Gormala ! " I answered. 

" And who is Gormala ? " For quite a minute or two 
I walked on without speaking, for I wanted to think 
before I answered. I felt that it would be hard to ex- 
plain the odd way in which the Seer-woman seemed 
to have become tangled up in my life ; and yet I wanted 
to tell this girl. I feared that she might laugh at me; 
that she might think me ridiculous; that she might de- 
spise me; or even that she might think me a lunatic! 
Then again Gormala might come and tell things to her. 
There was no accounting for what the woman might do. 
She might come upon us at any moment; she might 
be here even now ! The effect of her following or watch- 
ing me had begun to tell on my mind; her existence 
haunted me. I looked around anxiously, and breathed 
freely. There was no sign of her. My eyes finally 
fetched up on the face of the girl. . . . Her beauti- 
ful, dark eyes were fixed on me with interest and wonder. 

" Well ! " she said, after a pause, " I don't suppose I'm 
more inquisitive than my neighbours, but I should just 
like to know, right here, what's wrong with you. You 
looked round that time just as if you were haunted! 
Why did you run away that time and search round as 
if some one had taken a pot-shot at you and you wanted 
to locate him? Why did you groan before you went, 

yo The Mystery of the Sea 

and come back humming? Who is Gormala, anyhow; 
and why were you glad that you didn't see her? Why 
didn't you answer me when I asked you who she was? 
Why did you walk along with your head up and your 
eyes staring, as though you were seeing visions? And 
why " 

All at once she stopped, and a swift blush swept over 
her face and even her neck. " Oh," she said in a low 
tone with a note of pathos in her voice, " I beg your par- 
don! my unruly tongue ran away with me. I have no 
right to ask so many questions and from a stranger 
too ! " She stopped as suddenly as she had begun. 

" You might have spared me that ! " I said " I know I 
have been rude in delaying to answer your question about 
Gormala; but the fact is that there are so many odd 
things in connection with her that I was really consider- 
ing whether you would think me a fool or a lunatic if I 
told them to you. And you certainly would not under- 
stand why I didn't want to see her, if I didn't. And 
perhaps not even if I did," I added as an afterthought. 
The girl's awkwardness slipped from her like a robe; the 
blush merged into a smile as she turned to me and said : 

" This is most interesting. O ! do tell me if you 
don't mind." 

" I shall be delighted " I said, and 1 only expressed 
my thought. "Gormala" I began; but just then the 
stout lady in front of us, who was now a considerable 
way ahead, turned round and called to us. I could only 
hear " Miss Anita ; " but the girl evidently understood, 
for she called out: 

" All right ! We are coming at once ! " and she hurried 
on. It gave me a thrill of pleasure that she said " we " 
not " I ; " it was sweet to have a part in such a com- 
prehension. As we went she turned to me and said : 

" You must tell me all about it ; I shan't be happy till 

A Run on the Beach 71 

I hear the whole story, whatever it is. This is all too 
lovely and exciting. I hadn't an idea when we went 
out sleepily this morning that there would be so much 
in the day to think of afterwards." I felt that I had 
taken my courage in both hands as I said : 

" You'll both dine with me at the hotel, won't you. 
You have missed lunch and must be hungry, so we can 
dine early. It will be such a true pleasure to me ; and I can 
tell you all about everything afterwards, if we can man- 
age to get a moment alone." 

She paused, and I waited anxiously. Then she spoke 
with a delightful smile: 

" That must be as Mrs. Jack says. But we shall see ! " 
With this I had to be content for the present. 

When we came up to her, Mrs. Jack said in a woeful 

" Oh, Miss Anita, I don't know what to do. The sand 
is so heavy, and my clothes are so weighty with the wet, 
and my boots squish so with the water in them that I'm 
beginning to think I'll never be able to get warm or 
dry again ; though I'm both warm enough and dry enough 
in other ways." As she spoke she moved her feet some- 
what after the manner of a bear dancing, so as to make 
her wet boots squeak. I would have liked to have 
laughed, though I really pitied the poor thing; but a 
glance at the concern on Miss Anita's face checked me. 
Very tenderly she began to help and comfort the old 
lady, and looked at me pleadingly to help her. " Why 
dear " she said " no wonder it is hard walking for you 
with your clothes so wringing wet," and she knelt down 
on the wet sand and began to wring them out. I looked 
around to see what I could do to help. Just opposite, 
where we were the outcrop of rock on which the Hawk- 
law is based sent up a jagged spur of granite through the 
sand, close under the bent-covered hillocks. I pointed 

72 The Mystery of the Sea 

to this and we led the old lady over to it and made her sit 
down on a flat rock. Then we proceeded to wring her out, 
she all the while protesting against so much trouble being 
taken about her. We pulled off her spring-side boots, 
emptied them out and, with considerable difficulty, forced 
them on again. Then we all stood up, and the girl and I 
took her arms and hurried her along the beach; we all 
knew that nothing could be done for real comfort till 
we should have reached the hotel. As we went she said 
with gratitude in every note of her voice, the words 
joggling out of her as she bumped along: 

" Oh, my dears, you are very good to me." 

Once again the use of the plural gave me pleasure. 
This time, however, it was my head, rather than my 
heart, which was affected ; to be so bracketted with Miss 
Anita was to have hope as well as pleasure. 

Things were beginning to move fast with me. 

When we got to Cruden there was great local 
excitement, and much running to and fro on the 
part of the good people of the hotel to get dry 
clothes for the strange ladies. None of us gave any 
detail as to how the wetting took place; by some kind 
of common consent it was simply made known for 
the time that they had been overtaken by the tide. When 
once the incomplete idea had been started I took care 
not to elaborate it. I could see plainly enough that 
though the elder lady had every wish to be profuse in 
the expression of her gratitude to me, the younger one 
not only remained silent but now and again restrained 
her companion by a warning look. Needless to say, I 
let things go in their own way ; it was too sweet a pleas- 
ure to me to share anything in the way of a secret with 
my new friend, to imperil such a bliss by any breach 
of reticence. The ladies were taken away to bedrooms 
to change, and I asked that dinner for the three of us 

A Run on the Beach 73 

might be served in my room. When I had changed my 
own clothes, over which operation I did not lose any 
time, I waited in the room for the arrival of my guests. 
Whilst the table was being laid I learned that the two 
ladies had come to the hotel early in the day in a dog- 
cart driven by the younger one. They had given no 
orders except that the horse should be put up and well 
cared for. 

It was not long before the ladies appeared. Mrs.- 
Jack began to express her gratitude to me. I tried to 
turn it aside, for though it moved me a little by its 
genuineness, I felt somewhat awkward, as though I were 
accepting praise under false pretences. Such service as 
I had been able to render, though of the utmost import- 
ance to them, had been so easy of execution to me that 
more than a passing expression of thanks seemed out 
of place. After all I had only accepted a wetting on 
behalf of two ladies placed in an awkward position. I 
was a good swimmer; and my part of the whole pro- 
ceeding was unaccompanied by any danger whatever, I 
thought, of course, had it been later in the coming of 
the storm, things might have been very different. Here 
I shuddered as my imagination gave me an instantaneous 
picture of the two helpless women in the toils of the 
raging sea amongst those grim rocks and borne by that 
racing tide which had done poor Lauchlane Macleod to 
death. As if to emphasise my fears there now came a 
terrific burst of wind which seemed to sweep over the 
house with appalling violence. It howled and roared 
above us, so that every window, chimney and door, seemed 
to bear the sound right in upon us. Overhead was heard, 
between the burst which shook the windows and doors, 
that vague, booming sound, which conveys perhaps a 
better sense of nature's forces when let loose, than even 
the concrete expression of their violence. In this new 

74 The Mystery of the Sea 

feeling of the possibilities of the storm, I realised the base 
and the truth of the gratitude which the ladies felt ; and 
I also realised what an awful tragedy might have come 
to pass had I or some one else not come down the path 
from Whinnyfold just when I did. 

I was recalled to myself by an expression of concern 
by Mrs. Jack: 

" Look how pale he has got. I do hope he has not been 
hurt." Mechanically I answered: 

"Hurt! I was never better in my life," then I felt 
that my pallor must have left me and that I grew red 
with pleasure as I heard Miss Anita say: 

"Ah! I understand. He did not have any fear for 
himself; but he is beginning to feel how terrible it 
was for us." The fulness of understanding on the 
part of the beautiful girl, her perfect and ready sym- 
pathy, the exactness of her interpretation of my mind, 
made for me an inexpressible pleasure. 

When I told Mrs. Jack that I had ventured to claim 
them both as my guests, and hoped that they would 
honour me by dining with me, she looked at her com- 
panion in the same inquiring way which I had already 
noticed. I could not see the face of the younger lady 
at the moment as it was turned away from me, but 
her approval was manifest ; the answer was made gladly 
in the affirmative. Then I put forth a hope that they 
would allow me to have a carriage ready to take them 
home, whenever they might desire, so that they might 
feel at ease in remaining till they had been thoroughly 
restored after their fatigue. I added that perhaps it 
would be good for Miss Anita. Mrs. Jack raised her 
eyebrows slightly, and I thought there was a note of 
distance in her voice, as though she resented in a quiet 
way my mentioning the name: 

" Miss Anita ! " she said ; and there was that uncon- 

A Run on the Beach 75 

scious stiffening of the back which evidences that one 
is on guard. I felt somewhat awkward, as though I 
had taken a liberty. The younger lady saw my difficulty, 
and with a quick smile jumped to the rescue. 

" Oh Mrs. Jack " she said " I quite forgot that we 
were never introduced ; but of course he heard you men- 
tion my name. It was rather hurried our meeting; 
wasn't it? We must set it right now." Then she added 
very demurely : 

" Dear Mrs. Jack, will you present to Miss Anita, Mr. 
" she looked at me interrogatively. 

"Archibald Hunter " I said, and the presentation was 
formally made. Then Miss Anita answered my question 
about the carriage: 

" Thank you for your kind offer, Mr. Archibald Hun- 
ter " I thought she dwelt on the name, " but we shall 
drive back as we came. The storm will not be quite so 
bad inland, and as it does not rain the cart will be 
all right; we have plenty of wraps. The lamps are 
good, and I know the road; I noted it well as we came. 
Is not that right ? " she added, turning to her com- 

" Quite right, my dear! Do just as you like," and so 
the manner of their going was arranged. 

Then we had dinner ; a delightful, cosy meal. The fire 
leaped whenever the wind roared; and as the darkness- 
of the storm made a sort of premature nightfall, it gave 
a pleasant, homely look to everything. After dinner we 
sat round the fire, and I think for a time we were all 
content. To me it was so like a dream. To sit there 
close to the beautiful stranger, and to think of the ro- 
mantic beginning of our acquaintance, was enjoyment 
beyond words. As yet I did not dare to cast a glance 
forwards ; but I was content to wait for that. I had a 
conviction that my own mind was made up. 

7 6 The Mystery of the Sea 

After a little while we all became silent. Mrs. Jack 
was beginning to doze in her chair, and we two young 
folk instinctively banded ourselves together with our 
youthful superiority over sleep and fatigue. I sat quite 
still; there was something so sweet in this organised 
companionship of silence that it enraptured me. I did 
not need Miss Anita's look of caution to remain quiet; 
there was something in her face, some power or quality 
which was as eloquent as speech. I began to think of it ; 
and the habit of introspection, which had now become a 
part of my nature, asserted itself. How much of this 
quality I thought, was in her face, how much in my 
own eyes and the brain that lay behind them. I was 
recalled to myself by a whisper: 

" I thought for a moment you were going to sleep 
too. Hsh ! " she placed a finger on her lip a moment 
and then tiptoed over to the sofa; taking a soft cushion 
she placed it under Mrs. Jack's head, which had now 
fallen over sideways upon the arm of the chair. Then 
she sat beside me again, and bending over said softly: 

" While she is asleep would you mind walking down 
to the beach, I want to see the waves. They must be 
big by now; I can hear their roaring from here." 

" I will go with delight; " I said " but you must wrap 
up properly. It will not do to run any chance of a 

" All right, oh wise man ! I obey, King Solomon ! I 
shall wait to put on my own clothes till I get back; 
and you can lend me a mackie-coat if you will." I got one 
of mine for her, the newest; and we walked over the 
sandhills to the beach. 

The wind was blowing furiously. It never left off for a 
moment ; but occasionally there were bursts of such added 
violence that we found it difficult to keep our feet. We 
clung to each other at such moments, and the very 

A Run on the Beach 77 

sense of the strength which enabled me to shield her 
somewhat from the violence of the storm, made a new 
feeling of love I could not now disguise it from myself. 
Something went out from me to her ; some subtle feeling 
which must, I suppose, have manifested itself in some way, 
how I know not, for I kept guard upon myself. For 
one blissful moment, possibly of forgetfulness, she clung 
to me as the weak cling to the strong, the clinging of 
self-surrender which is equally dear to the weak and the 
strong, to the woman and the man. And then she drew 
herself sharply away from me. 

There was no misunderstanding the movement ; it was 
an intentional and conscious one, and the motive which 
lay behind both was her woman's mystery. I did not 
know much about women, but I could make no mistake as 
to this. Inasmuch as Providence has thought fit in its 
wisdom to make men and women different, it is just 
as well that each sex should at critical times use its 
own potentialities for its protection and advancement. 
Herein comes, in the midst of an unnatural civilisation, 
the true utility of instinct. Since we have lost the need 
of early information of the presence of game or of preda- 
tory animals or hostile men, even our instincts adapt 
themselves to our surroundings. Many an act which 
may afterwards seem the result of long and careful pre- 
meditation is, on reflection, found to be simply the result 
of that form of momentary impulse which is in reality a 
blind obedience to some knowledge of our ancestors 
gained through painful experience. Some protective or 
militant instinct whose present exercise is but a variant 
of its primal use. For an instant the man and the. 
woman were antagonistic. The woman shrank, there- 
fore it was the man's interest to advance; all at once 
the man in me spoke through the bashfulness and ret- 
icence of years : 

7 8 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Why do you shrink from me? Have I done any- 

"Oh no!" 

" Then why ? " A hot blush mantled her face and neck. 
Had she been an English girl I should not probably have 
had a direct answer; she would have switched conversa- 
tion on some safer track, cr have, after some skirmishing, 
forbidden the topic altogether. This girl's training, how- 
ever, had been different. Her equal companionship in 
study with boys in school and college had taught her the 
futility of trying to burke a question when her antagonist 
was masculine; and the natural pluck and dominance 
the assertion of individuality which is a part of an Ameri- 
can woman's birthright brought up her pride. Still 
blushing, but bearing herself with additional dignity, she 
spoke. Had she been more self-conscious, and could she 
have seen herself at the moment, she would have recog- 
nised to the full that with so much pride and so much dig- 
nity she could well afford to discuss any topic that she 

" The fault is not yours. It is, or it was, my own." 

" You mean when I gave you back your brooch ? " The 
blood deepened and deepened to a painful intensity. In a 
low voice, in the tone of speech, but with only the power 
of a whisper she answered me : 

" Yes ! " This was my chance and I said with all the 
earnestness I had, and which I felt to the full : 

" Let me say something. I shall not ever allude to it 
again unless you wish. I took that sweet acknowledg- 
ment of your gratitude exactly as it was meant. Do 
believe that I am a gentleman. I have not got a sister, 
I am sorry to say, but if I had, I should not mind her 
giving a kiss to a stranger under such circumstances. It 
was a sweet and womanly act and I respect and like 
you more for it. I wouldn't, of course, for all the world 

A Run on the Beach 79 

you hadn't done it; and I shall never forget it. But 
believe me I shall never forget myself on account of it. 
If I did I should be a howling cad ; and that's all." 

As I spoke her face brightened and she sighed with an 
expression of relief. The blush almost faded away, and 
a bright smile broke over her face. With a serious deep 
look in the eyes which glistened through her smile she 
held out her hand and said : 

" You are a good fellow, and I thank you with all my 

I felt as if I walked on air as we forced our way through 
the storm which roared around us, over the sandhills 
towards the sea. It was with an exultation that made my 
head swim that I noticed that she kept step with me. 


THE shore was a miracle of wild water and white 
foam. When the wind blows into Cruden Bay 
there is no end or limit to the violence of waves, 
which seem to gather strength as they rush over the 
flat expanse of shore. The tide was now only half in, 
and ordinarily there would have been a great stretch of 
bare sand between the dunes and the sea. To-night, 
however, the piling up of the waters sent in an unnatural 
tide which swept across the flat shore with exceeding 
violence. The roaring was interminable, and as we stood 
down on the beach we were enveloped in sheets of flying 
foam. The fierce blasts came at moments with such 
strength that it was physically impossible for us to face 
them. After a little we took shelter behind one of the 
wooden bathing-boxes fastened down under the sandhills. 
Here, protected from the direct violence of the storm, the 
shelter seemed like a calm from which we heard the 
roaring of wind and wave as from far off. There was a 
sense of cosiness in the shelter which made us instinctively 
draw close together. I could have remained happy in 
such proximity forever, but I feared that it would end 
at any moment. It was therefore, with delight that I 
heard the voice of Miss Anita, raised to suit the re- 
quirements of the occasion : 

" Now that we are alone, won't you tell me about 
Gormala and the strange occurrences ? " I tried to speak, 


Confidences and Secret Writing 81 

but the storm was too great for the purposes of narrative. 
So I suggested that we should come behind the sandhill. 
We went accordingly, and made a nest in a deep hollow 
behind the outer range of hillocks. Here crouched among 
the tall bent, which flew like whip lashes when the wilder 
bursts of the storm came, and amid a never-ending 
scourge of fine sand swept from the top of the sandhills, 
I told her of all my experiences of Gormala and Second 

She listened with a rapt attention. At times I could 
not see her face, for the evening was closing in and the 
driving clouds overhead, which kept piling up in great 
masses along the western horizon, shut out the remnants 
of the day. When, however, in the pauses of drifting 
sand and flying foam I could see her properly, I found her 
face positively alight with eager intelligence. Through- 
out, she was moved at times, and now and again crept a 
little closer to me ; as for instance when I told her of the 
dead child and of Lauchlane Macleod's terrible struggle 
for life in the race of the tide amongst the Skares. Her 
questions were quite illuminating to me at moments, for 
her quick woman's intuition grasped possibilities at which 
my mere logical faculties had shied. Beyond all else, she 
was interested in the procession of ghosts on Lammas 
Eve. Only once during my narrative of this episode she 
interrupted me; not an intentional interruption but a 
passing comment of her own, candidly expressed. This 
was where the body of armed men came along; at which 
she said with a deep hissing intake of her breath through 
her teeth : 

" Spaniards ! I knew it ! They were from some lost 
ship of the Armada ! " When I spoke of the one who 
turned and looked at me with eyes that seemed of the 
quick, she straightened her back and squared her shoul- 
ders, and looking all round her alertly as though for 

82 The Mystery of the Sea 

some hidden enemy, clenched her hands and shut her lips 
tightly. Her great dark eyes seemed to blaze; then she 
grew calm again in a moment. 

When I had finished she sat silent for a while, her eyes 
fixed in front of her as with one whose mind is occupied 
with introspection. Suddenly she said: 

" That man had some secret, and he feared you would 
discover it. I can see it all ! He, coming from his grave, 
could see with his dead eyes what you could see with 
your living ones. Nay, more ; he could, perhaps, see not 
only that you saw, and what you saw, but where the 
knowledge would lead you. That certainly is a grand 
idea of Gormala's, that of winning the Secret of the Sea ! " 
After a pause of a few moments she went on, standing 
up as she did so and walking restlessly to and fro with 
clenched hands and flashing eyes : 

" And if there be any Secrets of the Sea why not win 
them ? If they be of Spain and the Spaniard, why not, a. 
thousand times more, win them. If the Spaniard had a 
secret, be sure it was of no good to our Race. Why " 
she moved excitedly as she went on : " Why this is grow- 
ing interesting beyond belief. If his dead eyes could for 
an instant become quick, why should not the change last 
longer? He might materialise altogether." She stopped 
suddenly and said : " There ! I am getting flighty as 
usual. I must think it all over. It is all too wonderful 
and too exciting for anything. You will let me ask you 
more about it, won't you, when we meet again ? " 

When we meet again ! Then we would meet again. 
The thought was a delight to me; and it was only after 
several rapturous seconds that I answered her : 

" I shall tell you all I know ; everything. You will be 
able to help me in discovering the Mystery ; perhaps work- 
ing together we can win the Secret of the Sea." 

" That would be too enchanting ! " she said impulsively, 

Confidences and Secret Writing 83 

and then stopped suddenly as if remembering herself. 
After a pause she said sedately : 

" I'm afraid we must be going back now. We have a 
long way to drive; and it will be quite late enough any- 

As we moved off I asked her if I might not see her and 
Mrs. Jack safely home. I could get a horse at the hotel 
and drive with them. She laughed lightly as she an- 
swered : 

" You are very kind indeed. But surely we shall not 
need any one ! I am a good driver ; the horse is perfect 
and the lamps are bright. You haven't any ' hold-ups ' 
here as we have Out :West ; and as I am not within Gor- 
mala's sphere of influence, I don't think there is anything 
to dread ! " Then after a pause she added : 

" By the way have you ever seen Gormala since ? " It 
was with a queer feeling which I could not then analyse, 
but which I found afterwards contained a certain propor- 
tion of exultation I answered: 

" Oh yes ! I saw her only two days ago " Here I 
stopped for I was struck with a new sense of the connec- 
tion of things. Miss Anita saw the wonder in my face 
and drawing close to me said: 

" Tell me all about it ! " So I told her of the auction 
at Peterhead and of the chest and the papers with the 
mysterious marks, and of how I thought it might be 
some sort of account or," I added as a new idea struck 
me " secret writing." When I had got thus far she said 
with decision: 

" I am quite sure it is. You must try to find it out. 
Oh, you must, you must ! " 

" I shall," said I, " if you desire it." She said nothing, 
but a blush spread over her face. Then she resumed her 
movement towards the hotel. 

We walked in silence; or rather we ran and stumbled, 

84 The Mystery of the Sea 

for the fierce wind behind us drove us along. The ups 
and downs of the surface were veiled with the mist of 
flying sand swept from amongst the bent-grass on the tops 
of the sandhills. I would have liked to help her, but a 
judicious dread of seeming officious and so losing a step 
in her good graces held me back. I felt that I was paying 
a price of abstinence for that kiss. As we went, the silence 
between us seemed to be ridiculous; so to get over it I 
said, after searching in my mind for a topic which would 
not close up her sympathies with me: 

" You don't seem to like Spaniards ? " 

" No," she answered quickly, " I hate them ! Nasty, 
cruel, treacherous wretches! Look at the way they are 
treating Cuba! Look at the Maine!" Then she added 
suddenly : 

" But how on earth did you know I dislike them." I 
answered : 

*' Your voice told me when you spoke to yourself 
whilst I was telling you about the ghosts and the man 
with the eyes." 

" True," she said reflectively. " So I did. I must 
keep more guard on myself and not let my feelings run 
away with me. I give myself away so awfully." I could 
have made a reply to this, but I was afraid. That kiss 
seemed like an embodied spirit of warning, holding a 
sword over my head by a hair. 

It was not long before I found the value of my silence. 
The lady's confidence in my discretion was restored, and 
she began, of her own initiative, to talk. She spoke of the 
procession of ghosts; suddenly stopping, however, as if 
she had remembered something, she said to me : 

" But why were you so anxious that Gormala should 
not have seen you saving us from the rock ? " 

" Because," I answered, " I did not want her to have 
anything to do with this." ^ 

Confidences and Secret Writing 85 

" What do you mean by ' this ' ? " There was some- 
thing in the tone of her query which set me on guard. It 
was not sincere; it had not that natural intonation, even, 
all through, which marks a question put in simple faith. 
Rather was it in the tone of one who asks, knowing well 
the answer which will or may be given. As I have said, 
I did not know much about women, but the tone of co- 
quetry, no matter how sweet, no matter how ingenuous, 
no matter how lovable, cannot be mistaken by any man 
with red blood in his veins ! Secretly I exulted, for I felt 
instinctively that there rested some advantage with me in 
the struggle of sex. The knowledge gave me coolness, 
and brought my brain to the aid of my heart. Nothing 
would have delighted me more at the moment than to fling 
myself, actually as well as metaphorically, at the girl's feet. 
My mind was made up to try to win her ; my only thought 
now was the best means to that end. I felt that I was a 
little sententious as I replied to her question : 

" By ' this ' I mean the whole episode of my meeting 
with you." 

" And Mrs. Jack," she added, interrupting me. 

" And Mrs. Jack, of course," I went on, feeling re- 
joiced that she had given me an opportunity of saying 
something which I would not otherwise have dared to 
say. " Or rather I should perhaps say, my meeting with 
Mrs. Jack and her friend. It was to me a most delightful 
thing to meet with Mrs. Jack ; and I can honestly say this 
day has been the happiest of my life." 

" Don't you think we had better be getting on ? Mrs. 
Jack will be waiting for us ! " she said, but without any 
kind of reproach in her manner. 

" All right," I answered, as I ran up a steep sandhill 
and held out my hand to help her. I did not let her hand 
go till we had run down the other side, and up and down 
another hillock and came out upon the flat waste of sand 

86 The Mystery of the Sea 

which lay between us and the road, and over which a sort 
of ghostly cloud of sand drifted. 

Before we left the sand, I said earnestly : 

" Gormala's presence seems always to mean gloom and 
sorrow, weeping and mourning, fear and death. I 
would not have any of them come near you or yours. 
This as why I thanked God then, and thank Him now, 
that in our meeting Gormala had no part ! " 

She gave me her hand impulsively. As for an instant 
her soft palm lay in my palm and her strong fingers 
clasped mine, I felt that there was a bond between us 
which might some day enable me to shield her from 

When Mrs. Jack, and ' her friend ', were leaving the 
hotel, I came to the door to see them off. She said to me, 
in a low voice, as I bade farewell: 

" We shall, I daresay, see you before long. I know 
that Mrs. Jack intends to drive over here again. Thank 
you for all your kindness. Good night ! " There was a 
shake of the reins, a clatter of feet on the hard road, a 
sweeping round of the rays of light from the lamp as the 
cart swayed at the start under the leap forward of the 
high-bred horse and swung up the steep inland roadway. 
The last thing I saw was a dark, muffled figure, topped 
by a tam-o'-shanter cap, projected against the mist of 
moving light from the lamp. 

Next morning I was somewhat distrait. Half the 
night I had lain awake thinking; the other half I had 
dreamt. Both sleeping and waking dreams were mixed, 
ranging from all the brightness of hope to the harrowing 
possibilities of vague, undefined fear. 

Sleeping dreams have this difference over day dreams, 
that the possibilities become for the time actualities, and 
thus for good and ill, pleasure or pain, multiply the joys 
or sufferings. Through all, however, there remained one 

Confidences and Secret Writing 87 

fixed hope always verging toward belief, I should see 
Miss Anita Marjory again. 

Late in the afternoon I got a letter directed in a 
strange hand, fine and firm, with marked characteristics 
and well formed letters, and just enough of unevenness 
to set me at ease. I am never quite happy with the 
writer whose hand is exact, letter by letter, and word by 
word, and line by line. So much can be told by hand- 
writing, I thought, as I looked at the letter lying beside 
my plate. A hand that has no characteristics is that of a 
person insipid ; a hand that is too marked and too various 
is disconcerting and undependable. Here my philoso- 
phising came to an end, for I had opened the envelope, 
and not knowing the writing, had looked at the signature, 
" Marjory Anita." 

I hoped that no one at the table d'hote breakfast 
noticed me, for I felt that I was red and pale by turns. I 
laid the letter down, taking care that the blank back page 
was uppermost ; with what nonchalance I could I went on 
with my smoked haddie. Then I put the letter in my 
pocket and waited till I was in my own. room, secure from 
interruption, before I read it. 

That one should kiss a letter before reading it, is con- 
ceivable, especially when it is the first which one has 
received from the girl he loves. 

It was not dated nor addressed. A swift intuition told 
me that she had not given the date because she did not 
wish to give the address; the absence of both was less 
marked than the presence of the one alone. It addressed 
me as " Dear Mr. Hunter." She knew my name, of 
course, for I had told it to her; it was on the envelope. 
The body of the letter said that she was asked by Mrs. 
Jack to convey her warm thanks for the great service ren- 
dered ; to which she ventured to add the expression of her 
own gratitude. That in the hurry and confusion of mind, 

88 The Mystery of the Sea 

consequent on their unexpected position, they had both 
quite forgotten about the boat which they had hired and 
which had been lost. That the owner of it would no doubt 
be uneasy about it, and that they would both be grateful if I 
would see him he lived in one of the cottages close to the 
harbour of Port Erroll and find out from him the value 
of the boat so that Mrs. Jack might pay it to him, as well 
as a reasonable sum for the loss of its use until he should 
have been able to procure another. That Mrs. Jack ven- 
tured to give him so much trouble, as Mr. Hunter had 
been already so kind that she felt emboldened to trespass 
upon his goodness. And was " yours faithfully, ' Marjory 
Anita.' " Of course there was a postscript it was a 
woman's letter ! It ran as follows : 

" Have you deciphered those papers ? I have been 
thinking over them as well as other things, and I am con- 
vinced they contain some secret. You must tell me all 
about them when I see you on Tuesday. M." 

I fear that logic, as understood in books, had little to 
do with my kiss on reading this ; the reasoning belonged 
to that higher plane of thought on which rests the happi- 
ness of men and women in this world and the next. There 
was not a thought in the postscript which did not give 
me joy utter and unspeakable joy; and the more I 
thought of it and the oftener I read it the more it seemed 
to satisfy some aching void in my heart, " Have you 
deciphered the papers " the papers whose existence was 
only known to her and me! It was delightful that we 
should know so much of a secret in common. She had 
been ' thinking over them ' and other things ! ' Other 
things ! ' I had been thinking of other things ; thinking of 
them so often that every detail of their being or happen- 
ing was photographed not only on my memory but seem- 

Confidences and Secret Writing 89 

ingly on my very soul. And of all these ' other things ' 
there was one ! ! . . . 

To see her again ; to hear her voice ; to look in her eyes ; 
to see her lips move and watch each varying expression 
which might pass across that lovely face, evoked by 
thoughts which we should hold in common; to touch her 
hand. . . . 

I sat for a while like one in a rapturous dream, where 
one sees all the hopes of the heart fulfilled in complete- 
ness and endlessly. And this was all to be on Tuesday 
next Only six days off! . . . 

I started impulsively and went to the oak chest which 
stood in the corner of my room and took out the papers. 

After looking over them carefully I settled quietly 
down to a minute examination of them. I felt instinct- 
ively that my mandate or commission was to see if they 
contained any secret writing. The letters I placed aside, 
for the present at any rate. They were transparently 
simple and written in a flowing hand which made any- 
thing like the necessary elaboration impossible. I knew 
something of secret writing, for such had in my boyhood 
been a favourite amusement with me. At one time I had 
been an invalid for a considerable period and had taken 
from my father's library a book by Bishop Wilkins, the 
brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, called " Mercury : 
or the Secret and Swift Messenger." Herein were given 
accounts of many of the old methods of secret communi- 
cation, ciphers, string writing, hidden meanings, and 
many of the mechanical devices employed in an age when 
the correspondence of ambassadors, spies and secret 
agents was mainly conducted by such means. This ex- 
perience had set my mind somewhat on secret writing, 
and ever after when in the course of miscellaneous read- 
ing I came across anything relating to the subject I made 

90 The Mystery of the Sea 

a note of it. I now looked over the papers to see if I could 
find traces of any of the methods with which I was ac- 
quainted ; before long I had an idea. 

It was only a rudimentary idea, a surmise, a possibility ; 
but still it was worth going into. It was not any cause 
of undue pride to me, for it came as a corollary to an 
established conclusion, rather than as a fine piece of rea- 
soning from acute observation. The dates of the let- 
ters gave the period as the end of the sixteenth century, 
when one of the best ciphers of that time had been con- 
ceived, the " Biliteral Cipher " of Francis Bacon. To this 
my attention had been directed by the work of John Wil- 
kins and I had followed it out with great care. As I was 
familiar with the principle and method of this cipher I 
was able to detect signs of its existence; and this being 
so, I had at once strong hopes of being able to find the 
key to it. The Biliteral cipher has as its great advantage, 
that it can be used in any ordinary writing, and that its 
forms and methods are simply endless. All that it re- 
quires in the first instance is that there be some method 
arranged on between the writer and the reader of dis- 
tinguishing between different forms of the same letter. 
In my desk I had a typewritten copy of a monograph on 
the subject of the Biliteral cipher, in which I half sug- 
gested that possibly Bacon's idea might be worked out 
more fully so that a fewer number of symbols than his 
five would be sufficient. Leaving my present occupation 
for a moment I went and got it ; for by reading it over 
I might get some clue to aid me. Some thought which 
had already come to me, or some conclusion at which I 
had already arrived might guide me in this new labyrinth 
of figures, words and symbols.* 

When I had carefully read the paper, occasionally 
referring to the documents before me, I sat down and 
* See Appendix A. 

Confidences and Secret Writing 91 

wrote a letter to Miss Anita telling her that I had 
undertaken the task at once on her suggestion and that I 
surmised that the method of secret writing adopted if any, 
was probably a variant of the Biliteral cipher. I there- 
fore sent her my own monograph on the subject so that if 
she chose she might study it and be prepared to go into the 
matter when we met. I studiously avoided saying any- 
thing which might frighten her or make any barrier be- 
tween us ; matters were shaping themselves too clearly for 
me to allow myself to fall into the folly of over-precipita- 
tion. It was only when I had placed the letter with its en- 
closure in the envelope and written Marjory's Miss 
Anita's name that I remembered that I had not got her 
address. I put it in my pocket to keep for her till we 
should meet on Tuesday. 

When I resumed my work I began on the two remain- 
ing exhibits. The first was a sheaf of some thirty pages 
torn out of some black-letter law-book. The only remark- 
able thing about it was that every page seemed covered 
with dots hundreds, perhaps thousands on each page. 
The second was quite different: a narrow slip of paper 
somewhat longer than a half sheet of modern note paper, 
covered with an endless array of figures in even lines, 
written small and with exquisite care. The paper was 
just such a size as might be put as marker in an ordinary 
quarto; that it had been so used was manifest by the 
discolouration of .. portion of it that had evidently stuck 
out at the top of the volume. Fortunately, in its long 
dusty rest in the bookshelf the side written on had been 
downward so that the figures, though obscured by dust 
and faded by light and exposure to the air, were still 
decipherable. This paper I examined most carefully with 
a microscope ; but could see in it no signs of secret writing 
beyond what might be contained in the disposition of the 
numbers themselves. I got a sheet of foolscap and made 

92 The Mystery of the Sea 

an enlarged copy, taking care to leave fair space between 
the rows of figures and between the figures themselves. 

Then I placed the copy of figures and the first of the 
dotted pages side by side before me and began to study 

I confined my attention at first chiefly to the paper of 
figures, for it struck me that it would of necessity be 
the simpler of the two systems to read, inasmuch as the 
symbols should be self-contained. In the dotted letters 
it was possible that more than one element existed, for the 
disposition of significants appeared to be of endless 
variety, and the very novelty of the method it being one 
to which the eyes and the senses were not accustomed 
made it a difficult one to follow at first. I had little doubt, 
however, that I should ultimately find the dot cipher 
the more simple of the two, when I should have learned 
its secret and become accustomed to its form. It's mere 
bulk made the supposition likely that it was in reality 
simple; for it would be indeed an endless task, to work 
out in this laborious form two whole sheets of a compli- 
cated cipher. 

Over and over and over again I read the script of 
numbers. Forward and backward; vertically; up and 
down, for the lines both horizontal and vertical were com- 
plete and exact, I read it. But nothing struck me of 
sufficient importance to commence with as a beginning. 

Of course there were here and there repetitions of the 
same combination of figures, sometimes two, sometimes 
three, sometimes four together; but of the larger combi- 
nations the instances were rare and did not afford me any 
suggestion of a clue! 

So I became practical, and spent the remainder of my 
work-time that day in making by aid of my microscope an 
exact but enlarged copy, but in Roman letters, of the 
first of the printed pages. 

Confidences and Secret Writing 93 

Then I reproduced the dots as exactly as I could. This 
was a laborious task indeed. When the page was finished, 
half-blinded, I took my hat and went out along the shore 
towards Whinnyfold. I wanted to go to the Sand Craigs ; 
but even to myself I said ' Whinnyfold ' which lay farther 

" Men are deceivers ever," sang Balthazar in the play : 
they deceive even themselves at times. Or they pretend 
they do which is a new and advanced form of the same 


IF any ordinary person be afflicted with ennui and 
want something to take his thoughts away from a 
perpetual consideration of his own weariness let me 
recommend him to take up the interpretation of secret 
writing. At first, perhaps, he may regard the matter' 
lightly and be inclined to smile at its triviality. But after 
a little while, if he have in him at all any of the persist- 
ence or doggedness which is, and should be, a part of a 
man's nature, he will find the subject take possession of 
him to the almost entire exclusion of all else. Turn from 
it how he will ; make he never so many resolutions to put 
the matter behind him ; try he never so hard to find some 
more engrossing topic, he will still find the evasive mys- 
tery ever close before him. For my own part I can hon- 
estly say that I ate, drank, slept and dreamed secret writing 
during the entire of the days and nights which intervened 
between my taking up the task and the coming of Miss 
Anita to Cruden Bay. All day long the hidden mystery 
was before me ; wherever I was, in my room, still or con- 
torting myself ; walking on the beach ; or out on the head- 
lands, with the breezes singing in my ears, and the waves 
lapping below my feet. Hitherto in my life my only ex- 
perience of haunting had been that of Gormala ; but even 
that experience failed before the ever-hopeful, ever-baf- 
fling subject of the cryptograms. The wor^t of my feel- 
ing, and that which made it more poignant, was that I was 


A Clear Horizon 95 

of the firm belief not only that there was a cryptogram 
but that my mind was already on the track of it. Every 
now and again, sometimes when the MS. or its copy 
was before me and sometimes when I was out in the open, 
for the moment not thinking of it at all, a sort of inspira- 
tion would come to me ; some sort of root idea whose full 
significance I felt it difficult to grasp. 

My first relief came on Tuesday when at noon I saw 
the high dog-cart dash past the gate and draw up short 
opposite the post-office. 

I did not lose any time in reaching the cart so as to 
be able to help the ladies down. Marjory gave me both 
her hands and jumped lightly, but the elder lady required 
a good deal of help. It is always thus ; the experience of 
every young man is the same. Every woman, old or 
young, except the one whom he likes to lift or carry 
tenderly, is willing to be lifted or carried in the most 
leisurely or self-denying manner. 

When Mrs. Jack and ' her friend ' had come into the 
hotel sitting-room the latter said to me : 

" I hope you forgive us for all the trouble we have put 
you to." 

" No trouble at all," I answered and oh ! it sounded 
so tame " only a pleasure ! " " Thank you," she con- 
tinued gravely, " that is very nice of you. Now we want 
you to add to your kindness and take us out again on that 
rock. I have not yet finished my sketch, and I don't like 
to be baffled." 

" Finished your sketch, my dear," said Mrs. Jack, in a 
tone which manifestly showed that the whole thing was 
new to her. " Why, Marjory, it was washed into the sea 
before Mr. Hunter came to help us ! " The slight, quick 
blush which rose to her face showed that she understood 
the false position in which the maladroit remark placed 
her ; but she went on pluckily : 

96 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Oh, yes, dear, I know ! What 1 mean is, that having 
set my heart on making that sketch, I want to do it ; even 
if my first effort went wrong. That is, dear Mrs. Jack, 
if you do not mind our going out there again." 

" Oh, my dear," said the elder lady, " of course I will 
do just whatever you wish. But I suppose it will do if I 
sit on the rock near at hand ? Somehow, since our experi- 
ence there, I seem to prefer the mainland than any place 
where you may have to swim to get away from it." 
Marjory smiled at me as she said to her: 

" That will do capitally. And you can keep the lunch 
basket; and have your eye on me and the rising of the 
tide all the time." 

So I sent to Whinnyfold to have a boat ready when we 
should drive over. Whilst the ladies were preparing 
themselves for the boating trip I went to my room and 
took in my pocket the papers from the chest and my 
rescripts. I took also the letter which I had not been able 
to deliver. 

At Whinnyfold Miss Anita and I took the steep zigzag 
to the beach, piloted by one of John Hay's boys whilst 
the other took Mrs. Jack across the neck of the headland 
to the Sand Craigs. 

As we went down the steep path, the vision of the pro- 
cession of ghosts moving steadily up it on Lammas Eve, 
came back to me; instinctively I looked round to see if 
Gormala was watching. I breathed more freely when I 
saw she was not about. 

I should dearly have liked to take Miss Anita alone in 
the boat, but I feared that such was not safe. Rowing 
amongst the rocks of the Skares is at the best of times no 
child's play, and I was guardian of too great a treasure to 
be willing to run any risks. Young Hay and I pulled, 
the boy being in the bow and doing the steering. This 
position of affairs suited me admirably, for it kept me 

A Clear Horizon 97 

close to my companion and facing her. It was at all 
times a pleasure to me as it would have been to any man, 
to watch her face ; but to-day her eager joy at the beauty 
of all around her made me thrill with delight. The day 
was ideal for the place; a bright, clear day with just a 
ripple of wind from the water which took the edge from 
the July heat. The sea quivered with points of light, as 
though it were strewn with diamonds, and the lines of 
the racing tide threading a way amongst the rocks below 
were alone an endless source of interest. We rowed 
slowly which is much the safest way of progression in 
these waters, and especially when, as now, the tide was 
running towards the end of the ebb. As the boy seemed 
to know every one of the myriad rocks which topped the 
water, and by a sort of instinct even those that lay below, 
we steered a devious course. I had told him to take us 
round by the outer rocks from which thousands of sea- 
birds rose screaming as we approached; and as we crept 
in under the largest of them we felt that mysterious sense 
of unworthiness which comes to one in deep water under 
the shadow of rocks. I could see that Marjory had the 
sense of doubt, or of possible danger, which made her 
clutch hard at each gunwale of the boat till her knuckles 
grew white. As we rounded the Reivie o' Pircappies, 
and found the tide swirling amongst the pointed rocks, 
she grew so deadly pale that I felt concerned. I should 
have liked to question her, but as I knew from my ex- 
perience of her courage that she would probably prefer 
that I remained silent, I pretended not to notice. Male 
pretence does not count for much with women. She saw 
through me at once, and with a faint smile, which lit the 
pallor of her face like sunshine on snow, she said in so 
low a whisper that it did not reach the fisher boy : 

" I was thinking what it would have been for us that 
day only for you." 


98 The Mystery of the Sea 

" I was glad," I answered in an equally low voice, " to 
be able to render any help to to Mrs. Jack and her 

" Mrs. Jack and her friend are very much obliged to 
you," she answered gaily in her natural voice and tone. 
I could see that she had fully regained her courage, as 
involuntarily she took her hands from the sides of the 
boat. We kept now well out from the rocks and in deep 
water, and shortly sighted the Sand Craigs. As we could 
see Mrs. Jack and her escort trudging leisurely along the 
sand, and as we did not wish to hurry her, I asked young 
Hay with my companion's consent, to keep round the 
outermost of the Sand Craigs, which was now grey-white 
with sea-gulls. On our approach the birds all rose 
and wheeled round with myriad screaming; the won- 
der and admiration of the girl's eyes as they eagerly 
followed the sweep of the cloud of birds was good 
to see. 

We hung around the great pointed rock till we saw 
Mrs. Jack making her way cautiously along the rocks. 
We rowed at once to the inner rock and placed the lunch- 
eon basket in a safe place. We then prepared a little shel- 
tered nook for Mrs. Jack, with rugs and cushions so that 
she might be quite at ease. Miss Anita chose the place 
herself. I am bound to say it was not just as I should 
have selected; for when she sat down, her back was 
towards the rock from which she had been rescued. It 
was doubtless the young girl's thoughtfulness in keeping 
her mind away from a place fraught with such unpleasant 

When she was safely installed we dismissed the boys 
till the half tide. Mrs. Jack was somewhat tired with her 
trudge over the sand, and even when we left her she was 
nodding her head with coming sleep. Then Miss Anita 
got out her little easel which I fixed for her as she 

A Clear Horizon 99 

directed ; when her camp stool was rightly placed and her 
palette prepared 1 sat down on the rock at her feet and 
looked at her whilst she began her work. For a little 
while she painted in silence : then turning to me she said 
suddenly : 

" What about those papers ? Have you found anything 
yet ? " It was only then I bethought me of the letter in my 
pocket. Without a word I took it out and handed it to 
her. There was a slight blush as well as a smile on her 
face as she took it. When she saw the date she said 
impulsively : 

" Why did I not get it before ? " 

" Because I had not got your address, and did not know 
how to reach you." 

" I see ! " she answered abstractedly as she began to 
read. When she had gone right through it she handed it 
to me and said : 

" Now you read it out loud to me whilst I paint ; and let 
me ask questions so that I may understand." So I read ; 
and now and again she asked me searching questions. 
Twice or three times I had to read over the memorandum ; 
but each time she began to understand better and better, 
and at last said eagerly : 

"Have you ever worked out such reductions?" 

" Not yet, but I could do so. I have been so busy try- 
ing to decipher the secret writing that I have not had 
time to try any such writing myself." 

" Have you succeeded in any way ? " 

"No!" I answered. "I am sorry to say that as yet 
I have nothing definite; though I am bound to say I am 
satisfied that there is a cipher." 

" Have you tried both the numbers and the dots ? " 

" Both," I answered; " but as yet I want a jumping-off 

" Do you really think from what you have studied 

ioo The Mystery of the Sea 

that the cipher is a biliteral one, or on the basis of a 
biliteral cipher ? " 

" I do ! I can't say exactly how I came to think so ; 
but I certainly do." 

" Are there combinations of five ? " 

" Not that I can see." 

" Are there combinations of less than five ? " 

" There may be. There are certainly." 

" Then why on earth don't you begin by reducing the 
biliteral cipher to the lowest dimensions you can manage ? 
You may light on something that way." 

A light began to dawn upon me, and I determined that 
my task so soon as my friends had left Cruden would 
be to reduce Bacon's biliteral. It was with genuine ad- 
miration for her suggestion that I answered Miss Anita: 

'* Your- woman's intuition is quicker than my man's 
ratiocination. ' I shall in all my best obey you, Madam ! ' ' 
She painted away steadily for some time. I was looking 
at her, covertly but steadily when an odd flash of memory 
came to me ; without thinking I spoke : 

" When I first saw you, as you and Mrs. Jack stood on 
the rock, and away beyond you the rocks were all fringed 
with foam, your head looked as if it was decked with 
flowers." For a moment or two she paused before asking : 

"What kind of flowers?" 

Once again in our brief acquaintance I stood on 
guard. There was something in her voice which made me 
pause. It made my brain whirl, too, but there was a note 
of warning. At this time, God knows, I did not want 
any spurring. I was head over heels in love with the girl, 
and my only fear was lest by precipitancy I should spoil 
it all. Not for the wide world would I have cancelled 
the hopes that were dawning in me and filling me with a 
feverish anxiety. I could not help a sort of satisfied 
feeling as I answered : 

A Clear Horizon 101 

" White flowers ! " 

" Oh ! " she said impulsively; and then with a blush 
continued, painting hard as she spoke: 

" That is what they put on the dead ! I see ! " This 
was a counter-stroke with a vengeance. It would not do to 
let it pass so I added : 

" There is another ' first-column ' function also in 
which white flowers are used. Besides, they don't put 
flowers on the head of corpses." 

" Of whom then? " The note of warning sounded again 
in the meekness of the voice. But I did not heed it. 1 
did not want to heed it. I answered : 

" Of Brides ! " She made no reply in words. She 
simply raised her eyes and sent one flashing glance 
through me, and then went on with her work. That 
glance was to a certain degree encouragement; but it 
was to a much greater degree dangerous, for it was full 
of warning. Although my brain was whirling, I kept 
my head and let her change the conversation with what 
meekness I could. 

We accordingly went back to the cipher. She asked 
me many questions, and I promised to show her the 
secret writings when we should go back to the hotel. 
Here she struck in : 

" We have ordered dinner at the hotel ; and you are 
to dine with us." I tried not to tremble as I answered: 

" I shall be delighted." 

" And now," she said " if we are to have lunch here 
to-day we had better go and wake Mrs. Jack. See! the 
tide has been rising all the time we have been talking. It 
is time to feed the animals." 

Mrs. Jack was surprised when we wakened her; but 
she too was ready for lunch. We enjoyed the meal 

At half-tide the Hay boys came back. Miss Anita 

102 The Mystery of the Sea 

thought that there was enough work for them both in 
carrying the basket and helping Mrs. Jack back to the 
carriage. " You will be able to row all right, will you 
not ? " she said, turning to me. " You know the way now 
and can steer. I shall not be afraid ! " 

When we were well out beyond the rock and could 
see the figures of Mrs. Jack and the boys getting further 
away each step, I took my courage in both hands ; I was 
getting reckless now, and said to her: 

" When a man is very anxious about a thing, and is 
afraid that just for omitting to say what he would like 
to say, he may lose something that he would give all 
the rest of the world to have a chance of getting do 
do you think he should remain silent?" I could see 
that she, too, could realise a note of warning. There 
was a primness and a want of the usual reality in her 
voice as she answered me: 

" Silence, they say, is golden." I laughed with a dash 
of bitterness which I could not help feeling as I replied : 

" Then in this world the gold of true happiness is 
only for the dumb ! " she said nothing but looked out 
with a sort of steadfast introspective eagerness over the 
million flashing diamonds of the sea; I rowed on with 
all my strength, glad to let go on something. Presently 
she turned to me, and with all the lambency of her 
spirit in her face, said with a sweetness which tingled 
through me: 

" Are you not rowing too hard ? You seem anxious 
to get to Whinnyfold. I fear we shall be there too soon. 
There is no hurry; we shall meet the others there in 
good time. Had you not better keep outside the dan- 
gerous rocks. There is not a sail in sight; not one, so 
far as I know, over the whole horizon, so you need not 
fear any collision. Remember, I do not advise you to 
cease rowing; for, after all, the current may bear us 

A Clear Horizon 103 

away if we are merely passive. But row easily; and 
we may reach the harbour safely and in good time ! " 

Her speech filled me with a flood of feeling which 
has no name. It was not love; it was not respect; it 
was not worship ; it was not gratitude. But it was com- 
pounded of them all. I had been of late studying secret 
writing so earnestly that there was now a possible secret 
meaning in everything 1 read. But oh ! the poverty of 
written words beside the gracious richness of speech ! 
No man who had a heart to feel or a brain to understand 
could have mistaken her meaning. She gave warning, 
and hope, and courage, and advice; all that wife could 
give husband, or friend give friend. I only looked at 
her, and without a word held out my hand. She placed 
hers in it frankly; for a brief, blissful moment my soul 
was at one with the brightness of sea and sky. 

There, in the very spot where I had seen Lauchlane 
Macleod go down into the deep, my own life took a new 


IT was not without misgiving that I climbed the 
steep zigzag at Whinnyfold, for at every turn I 
half expected to see the unwelcome face of Gormala 
before me. It seemed hardly possible that everything 
could go on so well with me, and that yet I should not 
be disturbed by her presence. Miss Anita, I think, saw 
my uneasiness and guessed the cause of it; I saw her 
follow my glances round, and then she too kept an eager 
look out. We won the top, however, and got into the 
waiting carriage without mishap. At the hotel she asked 
me to bring to their sitting-room the papers with the 
secret writing. She gave a whispered explanation that 
we should be quite alone as Mrs. Jack always took a 
nap, when possible, before dinner. 

She puzzled long and anxiously over the papers and 
over my enlarged part copy of them. Finally she shook 
her head and gave it up for the time. Then I told her 
the chief of the surmises which 1 had made regarding 
the means by which the biliteral cipher, did such exist, 
might be expressed. That it must be by marks of some 
sort was evident; but which of those used were applied 
to this purpose I could not yet make out. When I had 
exhausted my stock of surmises she said: 

" More than ever I am convinced that you must begin 
by reducing the biliteral cipher. Every time I think of 
it, it seems plainer to me that Bacon, or any one else 


In the Twilight 105 

using such a system, would naturally perfect it if possi- 
ble. And now let us forget this for the present. I am 
sure you must want a rest from thinking of the cipher, and 
I feel that I do. Dinner is ready; after it, if you will, 
I should like another run down to the beach." 

"Another" run to the beach! then she remembered 
our former one as a sort of fixed point. My heart 
swelled within me, and my resolution to take my own 
course, even if it were an unwise one, grew. 

After dinner, we took our way over the sandhills and 
along the shore towards the Hawklaw, keeping on the 
line of hard sand just below high- water mark. 

The sun was down and the twilight was now begin- 
ning. In these northern latitudes twilight is long, and 
at the beginning differs little from the full light of day. 
There is a mellowed softness over everything, and all 
is grey in earth and sea and air. Light, however, there 
is in abundance at the first. The mystery of twilight, as 
Southerns know it, comes later on, when the night 
comes creeping up from over the sea, and the shadows 
widen into gloom. Still twilight is twilight in any de- 
gree of its changing existence; and the sentiment of 
twilight is the same all the world over. It is a time 
of itself; between the stress and caution of the day, 
and the silent oblivion of the night. It is an hour when 
all living things, beasts as well as human, confine them- 
selves to their own business. With the easy relaxation 
conies something of self-surrender; soul leans to soul 
and mind to mind, as does body to body in moments of 
larger and more complete intention. Just as in the mo- 
ment after sunset, when the earth is lit not by the narrow 
disc of the sun but by the glory of the wide heavens 
above, twin shadows merge into one, so in the twilight 
two natures which are akin come closer to the identity of 
one. Between daylight and dark as the myriad sounds 

io6 The Mystery of the Sea 

of life die away one by one, the chirp of birds, the lowing 
of cattle, the bleating of sheep, the barking of dogs, 
so do the natural sounds such as the rustle of trees, the 
plash of falling water, or the roar of breaking waves 
wake into a new force that strikes on the eaf with a 
sense of intention or conscious power. It is as though 
in all the wide circle of nature's might there is never to 
be such a thing as stagnation ; no moment of poise, save 
when the spirits of nature proclaim abnormal silence, 
such as ruled when earth stood " at gaze, like Joshua's 
moon on Ajalon." 

The spirits of my companion and myself yielded to this 
silent influence of the coming night. Unconsciously we 
walked close together and in step ; and were silent, wrapt 
in the beauty around us. To me it was a gentle ecstasy. 
To be alone with her in such a way, in such a place, 
was the good of all heaven and all earth in one. And so 
for many minutes we went slowly on our way along 
the deserted sand, and in hearing of the music of the 
sounding sea and the echoing shore. 

But even Heaven had its revolt. It seems that whether 
it be on Earth or in Heaven intelligence is not content 
to remain in a condition of poise. Ever there are heights 
to be won. Out of my own very happiness and the 
peace that it gave me, came afresh the wild desire to 
scale new heights and to make the present altitude which 
I had achieved a stepping-off place for a loftier height. 
All arguments seemed to crowd in my mind to prove 
that I was justified in asking Marjory to be my wife. 
Other men had asked women whom they had known but a 
short time to marry them; and with happy result. It 
was apparent that at the least she did not dislike me. 
I was a gentleman, of fair stock, and well-to-do ; I could 
offer her a true and a whole heart. She, who was 
seemingly only companion to a wealthy woman, could 

In the Twilight 107 

not be offended at a man's offering to her all he had to 
give. I had already approached the subject, and she 
had not warned me off it; she had only given me in a 
sweetly artful way advice in which hope held a distinct 
place. Above all, the days and hours and moments 
were flying by. I did not know her address or when I 
should see her again, or if at all. This latest thought 
decided me. I would speak plainly to-night. 

Oh, but men are dull beside women in the way of 
intuition. This girl seemed to be looking over the sea, 
and yet with some kind of double glance, such as women 
have at command, she seemed to have been all the time 
looking straight through and through me and getting 
some idea of her own from my changing expression. I 
suppose the appearance of determination frightened her 
or set her on guard, for she suddenly said: 

"Ought we not to be turning home?" 

" Not yet ! " I pleaded, all awake in a moment from 
my dreams. " A few minutes, and then we can go back." 

" Very well," she said with a smile, and then added 
demurely ; " we must not be long." I felt that my hour 
had come and spoke impulsively: 

"Marjory, will you be my wife?" Having got out 
the words I stopped. My heart was beating so heavily 
that I could not speak more. For a few seconds, which 
seemed ages to me, we were both silent. I daresay that 
she may have been prepared for something; from what 
I know now I am satisfied that her own intention was 
to ward off any coming difficulty. But the suddenness 
and boldness of the question surprised her and embar- 
rassed her to silence. She stopped walking, and as she 
stood still I could see her bosom heave like my own. 
Then with a great effort, which involved a long breath 
and the pulling up of her figure and the setting back of 
her shoulders, she spoke: 

io8 The Mystery of the Sea 

" But you know nothing of me! " 

" I know all of you that I want to know ! " This truly 
Hibernian speech amused her, even through her manifest 
emotion and awkwardness, if one can apply the word to 
one compact of so many graces. I saw the smile, and 
it seemed to set us both more at ease. 

" That sounds very rude," she said " but I under- 
stand what you mean, and take it so." This gave me 
an opening into which I jumped at once. She listened, 
seeming not displeased at my words; but on the whole 
glad of a moment's pause to collect her thoughts be- 
fore again speaking: 

" I know that you are beautiful ; the most beautiful 
and graceful girl I ever saw. I know that you are brave 
and sweet and tender and thoughtful. I know that 
you are clever and resourceful and tactful. I know 
that you are a good comrade; that you are an artist 
with a poet's soul. 1 know that you are the one woman 
in all the wide world for me; that having seen you 
there can never be any one else to take your place 
in my heart. I know that I would rather die with 
you in my arms, than live a king with any other 
queen ! " 

" But you have only seen me twice. How can you 
know so many nice things about me. I wish they were 
all true! I am only a girl; and I must say it is sweet 
to hear them, whether they be true or not. Anyhow, 
supposing them all true, how could you have known 

Hope was stepping beside me now. I went on : 

" I did not need a second meeting to know so much. 
To-day was but a repetition of my joy; an endorsement 
of my judgment; a fresh rivetting of my fetters! " She 
smiled in spite of herself as she replied: 

"You leave me dumb. How can I answer or argue 

In the Twilight 109 

with such a conviction." Then she laid her hand tenderly 
on my arm as she went on : 

" Oh, I know what you mean, my friend. I take it all 
in simple truth; and believe me it makes me proud to 
hear it, though it also makes me feel somewhat un- 
worthy of so much faith. But there is one other thing 
which you must consider. In justice to me you must." 
She paused and I felt my heart grow cold. " What is 
it?" I asked. I tried to speak naturally but I felt that 
my voice was hoarse. Her answer came slowly, but it 
seemed to turn me to ice: 

"But I don't know you!" 

There was a pity in her eyes which gave me some 
comfort, though not much ; a man whose soul is crying 
out for love does not want pity. Love is a glorious self- 
surrender; all spontaneity; all gladness, all satisfaction, 
in which doubt and forethought have no part. Pity is 
a conscious act of the mind; wherein is a knowledge 
of one's own security of foothold. The two can no more 
mingle than water and oil. 

The shock had come, and I braced myself to it. I 
felt that now if ever I should do my devoir as a gentle- 
man. It was my duty as well as my privilege to shield 
this woman from unnecessary pain and humiliation. Well 
I knew, that it had been pain to her to say such a thing 
to me; and the pain had come from my own selfish im- 
pulse. She had warned me earlier in the day, and I 
had broken through her warning. Now she was put in 
a false position through my act ; it was necessary I should 
make her feelings as little painful as I could. I had even 
then a sort of dim idea that my best plan would have 
been to have taken her in my arms and kissed her. Had 
we both been older I might have done so; but my love 
was not built in this fashion. Passion was so mingled 
with respect that the Other course, recognition of, and 

no The Mystery of the Sea 

obedience to, her wishes seemed all that was ~ open" to 
me. Besides it flashed across me that she L might take 
it that I was presuming on her own impulsive act on the 
rock. I said with what good heart I could : 

"That is an argument unanswerable, at present." I 
can only hope that time will stand my friend. "Only" 
I added and my voice choked as I said it " Do, do believe 
that I am in deadly earnest; that all my life is at stake; 
and that 1 only wait, and I will wait loyally with what 
patience I can, in obedience to your will. My feelings 
and my wish, and and my request will stand unaltered 
till I die ! " She said not a word, but the tears rose 
up in her beautiful eyes and ran down her blushing 
cheeks as she held out her hand to me. She did not 
object when I raised it to my lips and kissed it with 
all my soul in the kiss! 

We turned instinctively and walked homewards. I 
felt dejected, but not broken. At first the sand seemed 
to be heavy to my feet ; but when after a little I noticed 
that my companion walked with a buoyancy unusual even 
to her, I too became gay again. We came back to the 
hotel much in the spirit in which we had set out. 

We found Mrs. Jack dressed, all but her outer cloak, 
and ready for the road. She went awr.y with Marjory 
to finish her toilet, but came back before her younger 
companion. When we were alone she said to me after 
a few moments of 'hum'ing and 'ha'ing and awkward 
preparation of speech: 

"Oh Mr. Hunter, Marjory tells me that she intends 
to ride on her bicycle down to Aberdeen from Braemar 
where we are going on Friday. I am to drive from 
Braemar to Ballater and then go on by train so that I 
shall be in before her, though I am to leave later. But 
I am fearful about the girl riding such a journey by 
herself. We have no gentleman friend here, and it 

In the Twilight in 

would be so good of you to take charge of her, if you 
happened to be anywhere about there. I know I can 
trust you to take care of her, you have been so good to 
her, and to me, already." 

My heart leaped. Here was an unexpected chance 
come my way. Time was showing himself to be my friend 

" Be quite assured," I said as calmly as I could " I 
shall be truly glad to be of the least service. And 
indeed it will just suit my plans, as I hoped to go 
to Braemar on my bicycle one day very soon and can 
arrange to go just as may suit you. But of course 
you understand that I must not go unless Miss Anita 
wishes it. I could not presume to thrust myself upon 

" Oh that is all right ! " she answered quickly, so 
quickly that I took it that she had already considered 
the matter and was satisfied about it. " Marjory will 
not object." Just then the young lady entered the room 
and Mrs. Jack turning to her said: 

" I have asked Mr. Hunter my dear to ride down 
with you from Braemar ; and he says that as it just suits 
his plans as he was going there he will be very happy 
if you ask him." She smiled as she said: 

" Oh since you asked him and he had said yes I need not 
ask him too ; but I shall be very glad ! " I bowed. When 
Mrs. Jack went out, Marjory turning to me said : 

" When did you plan to go to Braemar ? " 

" When Mrs. Jack told me you were going " I an- 
swered boldly. 

" Oh ! I didn't mean that," she said with a slight blush 
"but at what time you were to be t^ere." To which 
I said- 

" That will be just to suit your convenience. Will 
you write and let me know ? " She saw through my 

112 The Mystery of the Sea 

ruse of getting a letter, and smilingly held up a warning 

As we strolled up the road, waiting for the dog-cart to 
be got ready, she said to me: 

" Now you can be a good comrade I know ; and you 
said that, amongst other things, I was a good comrade. 
So I am; and between Braemar and Aberdeen we must 
both be good comrades. That and nothing more ! What- 
ever may come after, for good or ill, that time must 
be kept apart." 

" Agreed ! " I said and felt a secret exultation as we 
joined Mrs. Jack. Before they started Marjory said: 

" Mrs. Jack I also have asked Mr. Hunter to come on 
the ride from Braemar. I thought it would please him 
if we both asked him, since he is so diffident and un- 
impulsive ! " 

With a smile she said good-bye and waved it with her 
whip as they started. 


1WENT straight to my own room and commenced 
to work afresh on the biliteral cipher. More than 
ever had I the conviction upon me that the read- 
ing of the secret writing would be the first step to the 
attainment of my wishes regarding Marjory. It would 
have been strange therefore if I had not first attempted 
the method which she had herself suggested, the re- 
ducing the Baconian cipher to its lowest elements. 

For many hours I laboured at this work, and finally 
when I had reduced the Baconian five symbols to three I 
felt that I had accomplished all that was possible in 
that way.* 

When I had arrived at this result, and had tested its 
accuracy in working, I felt in a position to experiment 
with my new knowledge on the old number cipher. First 
I wrote out my method of reduction as a sort of ad- 
dendum to the paper which I had prepared for Marjory. 
Then I made a key to cipher and one to de-cipher.f By 
this time the night was well on and the grey of early 
morning was beginning to steal in by the edges of the 
blinds; I was not sleepy, however; I was too much 
excited to think of sleep, for the solving of the prob- 
lem seemed almost within my grasp. Excited to a state 
which almost frightened me by its intensity, I got ready 
my copy of the number cipher and my newly prepared 
key. With an effort which took me all my resolution I 
* See Appendix B. f See Appendix C. 


H4 The Mystery of the Sea 

went on steadily writing its proper letter under each 
combination without once looking back; for I knew that 
even should some of the letters be misplaced in the key 
the chance of recognising the right ones would be largely 
increased by seeing a considerable number of letters 

Then I glanced over the. whole and found that many 
of the symbols made up letters. With such a basis to 
work on, the rest was only labour. A few tentative 
efforts and I had corrected the key to agreement with 
some of the combinations in the cipher. 

I found, however, that only here and there were letters 
revealed; try how I would, I could not piece out the 
intervening symbols. At last it occurred to me that 
there might be in the paper two or more ciphers. On try- 
ing to follow out the idea, it became apparent that there 
were at least a quantity of impeding numbers scattered 
through the cipher. These might be only put in to 
baffle pursuit, as I had surmised might be done when I 
made the cipher; or they might have a more definite 
purpose. At any rate they hampered my work, so I 
struck them out as I went along. That 1 continued till 
I had exhausted the whole list of numbers in the script. 

When I looked back over the letters translated from the 
cipher thus depleted, I found to my inexpressible joy 
that the sequence and sense were almost complete. The 
translation read as follows: 

'' To read the history of the Trust use cipher of Fr. 
Bacon. The senses and the figures are less worthy than 
the Trinity B. de E." 

One step more and my work was done. I set the 
discarded numbers in sequence on another sheet of paper, 
and found to my intense satisfaction they formed an 
inner record readable by the same key. The " encloased " 
words, to use Bacon's phrase, were : 

The Cipher 115 

" Treasure Cave cliff one and half degree Northe of 
East from outer rock." 

Then and then only did I feel tired. The sun was 
well up but I tumbled into bed and was asleep in a 

The gong was sounding for breakfast when I awoke. 
After breakfast when I resumed my work I set myself 
to construct a variant of my number key to suit the 
dotted letters, for my best chance, now that I was ort 
the track was to construct rather than to decipher. After 
some hard work I at last constructed a cipher on this 

I then began therefore to apply my new key to the 
copy of the cipher in the printed pages. 

I worked steadily and completed the whole of the 
first page, writing down only the answer to those 
combinations which fitted into my scheme, and leav- 
ing all doubtful matters blank. Then I laid aside 
my key, and with a beating heart glanced over the 

It more than satisfied me, for in the scattered letters 
though there were many blanks, was manifestly a con- 
nected narrative. Then I took the blanks and worked at 
them altering my key to suit the scheme of the original 
writer, till by slow degrees I had mastered the secret 
of the cipher construction. 

From that hour on, till I had translated the cipher 
writing from beginning to end I knew no rest that I 
could avoid. I had to take my meals, and to snatch a 
few hours of sleep now and again; for the labour of 
translation was very arduous and slow, and the strain 
on my eyes was too great to be kept up continuously; 
with each hour, however, I acquired greater facility in 
the work. It was the evening of the fourth day, however, 
*See Appendix D. 

n6 The Mystery of the Sea 

before my work was complete. 1 was then absolute 
master of the writer's intent. 

All this time I had not heard from Marjory, and 
this alone made excessive work a necessary anodyne. 
Had I not had the long and overwhelming preoccupa- 
tion to keep my mind from dwelling on the never ending 
disappointment, I do not know what I should have done. 
I fully expected a letter by the last post that night. I 
knew Marjory was staying somewhere in the County; 
it was by that post that we received local letters. None 
came, however, and that night I spent in making a fair 
transcript of the whole translation. 

The first part of it was in the shape of a letter, and ran 
as follows: 

" My deare Sonne, These from the towne of Aber- 
deyne in Scotland wherin I lie sick, and before I go on 
my quest for the fulfilment of my Trust. I have written, 
from time to time during my long sickness, a full narra- 
tive of what has been; so that you may know all as 
though your own ears had heard and your own eyes 
had seen. All that I have written is to the one end 
that you my eldest sonne and the rest of my children, 
may, should I fail and I am weak in bodie to so strive 
carry on the Trust to which I have pledged you as 
well as myself; so that untill that Trust be yielded up 
complete, neither I nor you nor they are free to any 
that may clash with the purpose to which our race is 
henceforth now devoted. But that mine oath may not 
press overhard on my children, and if need be on their 
children and their children's children to the end, it will 
suffice if one alone at all times shall hold himself or 
herself pledged to the fulfillment of the Trust. To this 
end I charge herewith all of my blood and race that the 
eldest sonne of each generation do hold himself pledged 

The Cipher 117 

to the purpose of the Trust, unless some other of the 
direct lineage do undertake it on his behalf. In default 
of which, or if such undertaken Trust shall fail, then 
the duty reverteth back and back till one be found whose 
duty it is by priority of inheritance, unless by some other 
of the direct lineage the Trust be undertaken on his 
behalf. And be mindful one and all to whom is this 
sacred duty that secrecy is of its very essence. The 
great Trust was to me in the first instance in that His 
Holiness Pope Sixtus Fifth and my good kinsman known 
as the Spanish Cardinal held graciouslly that I was 
one in whose heart the ancient honour of our dear Spain 
had a place of lodgement so secure that time alone could 
not efface it nor its continuance in the hearts of my 
children. To the purpose then of this great Trust His 
Holiness hath himself given to me and mine full powers 
of all kinds so to deal with such circumstances as may 
arise that the labour which we have undertaken may in 
all cases be brought to a successful issue. To the which 
His Holiness hath formulated a Quittance which shall 
be co-existent with the Trust and which shall purge 
the natural sin of any to whom in the discharge of the 
duties of the Trust any necessity may arise. But inas- 
much as the Trust is a secret one and the undue publi- 
cation of such Quittance might call the attention of the 
curious to its existence, such Document is filed in the 
secret record of the Vatican, where, should necessity 
hereafter arise, it may be found by the Holy Father 
who may then occupy the Chair of St. Peter on appli- 
cation made to him on behalf of any who may so offend 
against law or the rules of well-being which govern the 
children of Christ. And I charge you, oh! my sonne 
to ever bear in mind that though there be some strange 
things in the narrative they are in mine own eyes true 

n8 The Mystery of the Sea 

in all ways, though it may appear to you that they ac- 
cord not with what may be said hereafter of these times 
by other men. 

" And oh, my sonne, and my children all, take this 
my last blessing and with it my counsel that ye walk 
always in Faith and Righteousness, in Honour and in 
Good Report, with your duty ever to Holy Church and to 
the King in loyal service. Farewell ! God and the Blessed 
Virgin and the Saintes and Angels watch over you and 
help you that your duty be done. 

" Your father in all love, 


" These will be brought by a trusty hand, for I fear 
lest they shall fall into the hands of the English Queene, 
or any of her hereticall surroundings. If it be that you 
fail at the first in the speedy fulfillment of the Trust 
as may be, now that the purpose of our great Armada 
hath been checked it may be well that whoso to whom is 
the Trust may come hither and dwell upon these shores 
so that he may watch over the purpose of the Trust 
and be at hand for its fullfillment when occasion may 
serve. But be mindful ever, oh my sonne, that who so 
guardeth the Trust will be ever surrounded by enemies, 
heathenish and without remorse, whose greed should 
it ever be awakened to this purpose would be fatal to 
all which we cherish. Dixi. 

Following this came : 

" Narrative of Bernardino de Escoban, Knight of the 
Cross of the Holy See and Grandee of Spain. 

In this was set out at full length * the history of the 

great Treasure gathered by Pope Sixtus Fifth for the 

subjugation of England, and which he entrusted to the 

writer of the narrative who had at his own cost built and 

* See Appendix E. 

The Cipher 119 

manned one of the vessels of the Armada the San Cris- 
tobal flagship of the Squadron of the Galleons of Castile. 
The Pope, wearied by the demands of Philip of Spain 
and offended by his claim to appoint bishops under the 
new domain and further incensed by the incautious in- 
solence of Count de Olivares the Spanish ambassador 
to Rome, has chosen to make this a secret trust and has 
on the suggestion of the Spanish Cardinal chosen Don 
Bernardino de Escoban for the service. In furtherance of 
his design he has sent him for his new galleon a figure- 
head " wrought in silver and gold for his own galley by 
Benvenuto Cellini. Also he has given him as a souvenir a 
brooch wrought by the same master-hand, the figurehead 
wrought in petto. Don Bernardino gives account of the 
defeat of the Armada and tells how his vessel being crip- 
pled .and he being fearful of the seizure of the treasure 
entrusted to him buries it and the coveted figurehead in 
a water cave at the headland of a bay on the coast of 
Aberdeyne. He has blown up the opening of the cave 
for safety. In the narrative were certain enlightening 
phrases such as when the Pope says : 

' To which end I am placing with you a vastness of 
treasure such as no nation hath ever seen." Which was 
to be applied to only the advancement of the True Faith, 
and which was in case of failure of the enterprise of the 
Armada to be given to the custody of whatever King 
should, after the death of Sixtus V, sit upon the throne. 
And again : 

" ' The Cave was a great one on the south side of 
the Bay with many windings and blind offsets. . . . 
' The black stone on one hand and the red on the other 
giving back the blare of the lantern.' " 

The memoranda which follow give the future history 
of the Trust: 

" The narrative of my father, the great and good Don 

I2O The Mystery of the Sea 

Bernardino de Escoban, I have put in the present form 
for the preservation of the secret. For inasmuch as the 
chart to which he has alluded is not to be found, though 
other papers and charts there be, it may be necessary 
that a branch of our house may live in this country in 
obedience to the provision of the Trust and so must 
learn to speak the English as though it were the mother 
tongue. As I was but a youth when my father wrote, 
so many years have elapsed that death has wrought many 
changes and the hand that should have carried the 
message and given me the papers and the chart is no 
more, lying as is thought beside my father amongst the 
surges of the Skyres. So that only a brief note pointing 
to the contents of an oaken chest wherein I found them, 
though incomplete, was all that I had to guide me. The 
tongue that might have spoken some added words of im- 
port was silent for ever 

"23, October, 1599." 

" The narrative of my grandfather, together with my 
father's note have I Englished faithfully and put in this 
secret form for the guidance of those who may follow 
me, and whose life must be passed in this rigorous clime 
untill the sacred Trust committed to us by Pope Sixtus 
the Fifth be fullfilled. When on the death of my elder 
brother, I being but the second son, I was sent to join 
my father in Aberdeyne, I made grave preparation for 
bearing worthily the burden laid upon us by the Trust 
and so schooled myself in the English that it is now 
as my mother tongue. Then when my father, having 
completed the building of his castle, set himself to the 
finding of the cave whereof the secret was lost, in which 
emprise he, like my grandfather lost his life amongst 
the waters of the Skyres of Crudene. Ye that may 

The Cipher ill 

follow me in the trust regard well this secret writing, 
made for the confusion of the curious but to the preserva- 
tion of our secret. Bear ever in mind that not all that 
is shows on the surface of even simple words. The 
cipher of my Grandfather devised by Fr. Bacon now High 
Chancellor of England has many mouths, all of which 
may speak if there be aught to say. 

"4, July, 1620." 

In addition to the cipher narrative I found on close 
examination that there was a separate cipher running 
through the marginal notes on the earlier of the printed 
pages. When translated it ran as follows: 

" Cave mouthe northe of outer rock one degree and half 
North of East. Reef lies from shore point three and 
half degrees South of South East." 


1READ Don Escoban's narrative over and over again, 
till I had thoroughly mastered every detail of it; 
then I studied the key of the number cipher till 
I had it by heart. I had an instinct that memory on 
this subject would be a help and a safety to me now 
or hereafter. For now new doubts had begun to assail 
me. What I had learned was in reality a State secret 
and had possible consequences or eventualities which, 
despite the lapse of three centuries, might prove far- 
reaching and dangerous. The treasure in question was 
so vast, its purpose so definite, and its guardianship so 
jealously protected against time and accident, that there 
was but little chance of forgetfulness regarding it. I was 
not assailed by moral scruples in any way. The treasure 
had been amassed and dedicated to the undoing of Eng- 
land ; and for those who had gathered it and sent it forth 
I had no concern. That it had been hidden in Britain 
by Britain's enemies during time of war surely de- 
prived them of all right to recover by legal means. What 
the law might be on the subject I did not know, and till I 
knew I cared little. It was a case of " finders keepers," 
and if I could find it first I held myself justified in using 
it to my own purposes. All the same I made up my mind 
to look up the law of Treasure Trove, which I had a 
hazy idea was in a pretty uncertain condition. At first 
none of these issues troubled me. They were indeed side 


A Ride Through the Mountains 123 

issues till the treasure should be found ; when they would 
Lecome of prime importance. I had felt that my first 
step to winning the hand of Marjory Anita was to read 
the cipher. This I had done ; and in the doing had made 
discovery of a secret of such a nature that it might 
place me beyond the dreams of avarice, and in a position 
to ask any girl in the world to marry me. I believe that 
I regarded the treasure as already my own; as much 
as though I had already recovered it from the bowels 
of the earth. 

Early in the morning I took my way to Whinnyfold, 
bringing with me a pocket compass so that 1 could locate 
the exact spot where the mouth of the cave had been 
closed. I knew of course that even granite rocks can- 
not withstand untouched the beating of three centuries of 
stormy sea, the waste of three hundred summers and 
winters, and the thousands of nights of bitter frost and 
days of burning sun which had come to pass since the 
entrance of the cave had been so rudely shaken down. 
But I was, I confess, not prepared for the utter annihila- 
tion which had come to every trace of its whereabouts. 
Time after time the sea had bitten into the land; and 
falling rocks, and creeping verdure, and drifting sand 
had changed the sea-front beyond all recognition. 

I did what I could, however, to take the bearings of 
the place as laid down by Don de Escoban by walking 
along the top of the cliff, beginning at the very edge 
of Witsennan Point till I reached a spot where the south 
end of the outer rock of the Skares stood out. 

Then to my surprise I found that it was as near as 
possible in the direction of my own house. In fact when 
I looked at the plan which the local surveyor had made 
of my house I found that the northern wall made a 
bee line for the south end of the main rock of the 
Skares. As it was manifest that what had originally 

124 The Mystery of the Sea 

been the front of the cave had fallen in and been partly 
worn and worked away, my remaining hope was that 
the cave itself lay under part of my ground if not under 
the house itself. This gave a new feature to the whole 
affair. If my surmise were correct I netd not hurry at 
all; the safest thing I could do would be to quietly 
make an opening from my house into the cave, and 
explore at leisure. All seemed clear for this proceed- 
ing. The workmen who had done the building were gone, 
and the coming of the decorators had not yet been fixed. 
I could therefore have the house to myself. As I went 
back to the hotel, I planned out in my mind how I should 
get from Glasgow or Aberdeen proper implements for 
digging and cutting through the rock into the house; 
these would be sent in cases, so that no one would sus- 
pect what I was undertaking. The work would have 
to be done by myself if I wished to preserve secrecy. I 
had now so much to tell Marjory when we should meet 
that I felt I should hardly know where to begin, and the 
business side of my mind began to plan and arrange 
so that all things might come in due order and to the 
best effect. 

When I got to the hotel I found awaiting me a letter 
from Marjory which had come by the last post. I took 
it away to my room and locked the door before open- 
ing it. It had neither address nor date, and was decidedly 
characteristic : 

" My dear Sir : Mrs. Jack asks me to write for her 
to say that we shall be leaving Braemar on Tuesday. We 
shall be staying at the Fife Arms Hotel, and she will be 
very happy if you will breakfast with us at nine o'clock 
A. M. Room No. 16. This is all of course in case you 
care to ride down to Aberdeen. We are breakfasting 
so early as the ride is long, sixty miles, and Mrs. Jack 

A Ride Through the Mountains 125 

thinks that I should have a rest at least twice on the 
way. As I believe you know the road, she will be glad 
if you will kindly arrange our stopping places. Mrs. 
Jack will leave Braemar at about three o'clock and drive 
down to Ballater to catch the half-past five train. She 
asks me to say that she hopes you will pardon her for 
the trouble she is giving you, and to impress on you 
that in case you would rather not come, or should any- 
thing occur to prevent you, she will quite understand a 
telegram with the single word ' regret.' By the way 
she will be obliged if you will kindly not mention her 
name either her surname or her Christian name be- 
fore any of the people strangers or hotel people, at 
Braemar or during the journey or indeed during the 
day. Believe me, Yours very truly, 


" P. S. How about the cipher ; have you reduced the 
biliteral, or got any clue yet? 

" P. P. S. I don't suppose that anything, unless it be 
really serious, will prevent your coming. Mrs. Jack is so 
looking forward to my having that bicycle ride. 

" P. P. P. S. Have you second-sighted any ships yet ? 
Or any more white flowers for the Dead ? " 

For long I sat with the letter in my hand after I had 
read it over and over again many many times. Each 
time I read it its purpose seemed more luminous. It 
may have been that my old habit of a year ago of finding 
secret meanings in everything was creeping back to me. 
I thought and thought ; and the introspective habit made 
me reason out causes even in the midst of imaginative 
flights. " Might not " I thought " it be possible that there 
be minor forms of Second Sight; Day Dreams based 
on some great effort of truth. In the real world there 
are manifestations of life in lower as well as higher forms ; 

126 The Mystery of the Sea 

and yet all alike are instinct with some of that higher 
principle which divides the quick and the dead. The 
secret voices of the brain need not always speak in 
thunder; the Dream-Painter within us need not always 
have a full canvas for the exercise of his craft. 

On Tuesday morning when at nine o'clock to the 
minute I went to the Fife Arms at Braemar, I found 
Marjory alone. She came forward with a bright, frank 
smile and shook hands. " It's real good to see you " 
was all she said. Presently she added : 

" Mrs. Jack will be here in a minute or two. Before 
she comes, it is understood that between this and Aber- 
deen and indeed for to-day, you and I are only to be 

"Yes! " said I, and then added: "Without preju- 
dice ! " She showed her pearly teeth in a smile as she 
answered : 

"All right. Without prejudice! Be it so!" Then 
Mrs. Jack came in, and having greeted me warmly, we 
sat down to breakfast. When this was over, Marjory cut 
a good packet of sandwiches and tied them up herself. 
These she handed to me saying: 

" You will not mind carrying these. It will be nicer 
having our lunch out than going to a hotel; don't you 
think so? " Needless to say I cordially acquiesced. Both 
our bicycles were ready at the door, and we lost no time 
in getting under weigh. Indeed my companion showed 
some anxiety to be off quickly, as though she wished 
to avoid observation. 

The day was glorious. There was bright sunshine; 
and a sky of turquoise with here and there a flock of 
fleecy clouds. The smart easterly breeze swept us along 
as though we were under sail. The air was cool and the 
road smooth as asphalt, but with the springiness of well- 
packed gravel. With the least effort of pedalling we sim- 

A Ride Through the Mountains 127 

ply seemed to fly. I could see the exhilaration on my com- 
panion's face as clearly as I could feel it in my own nature. 
All was buoyancy, above, below, around us ; and I doubt if 
in all the wide circle of the sun's rays there were two such 
glad hearts as Marjory's and my own. 

As we flew along, the lovely scenery on either hand 
seemed like an endless panorama. Of high mountains 
patched with heather which here and there, early in 
the year as it was, broke out in delicate patches of pink ; 
of overarching woods whose creaking branches swaying 
in the wind threw kaleidoscopic patterns of light along 
our way; of a brown river fed by endless streams rush- 
ing over a bed of stones which here and there lifted their 
dark heads through the foam of the brown-white water; 
of green fields stretching away on either side of the 
river or rising steeply from our feet to the fringes of 
high-lying pines or the black mountains which rose just 
beyond; of endless aisles of forest where, through the 
dark shade of the brown trunks, rose from the brown 
mass of long-fallen pine needles which spread the ground 
below, and where patches of sunlight fell in places with 
a seemingly intolerable glare! Then out into the open 
again where the sunlight seemed all natural and even the 
idea of shade unreal. Down steep hills where the ground 
seemed to slide back underneath our flying wheels, and 
up lesser hills, swept without effort by the wind behind 
us and the swift impetus of our pace. 

After a while the mountains before us, which at first 
had seemed like an unbroken line of frowning giants 
barring our course, seemed to open a way to us. Round 
and round we swept, curve after curve yielding and falling 
back and opening new vistas; till at the last we passed 
into the open gap between the hills around Ballater. Here 
in the face of possible danger we began to crawl cau- 
tiously down the steep hill to the town. Mrs. Jack 

128 The Mystery of the Sea 

had proposed that we should make our first halt at Balla- 
ter. As, however, we put on pace again at the foot of 
the hill Marjory said: 

*' Oh do not let us stop in a town. I could not bear 
it just after that lovely ride through the mountains." 

" Agreed ! " I said " let us push on ! That twenty 
miles seems like nothing. Beyond Cambus-o-May there 
is a lake on the northern side; we can ride round it 
and come back to the road again at Dinnet. If you like 
we can have our lunch in the shelter of a lovely wood at 
the far side of it." 

" That will be enchanting ! " she said, and the happy 
girlish freshness of her voice was like a strain of music 
which suited well the scene. When we had passed Bal- 
later and climbed the hill up to the railway bridge we 
stopped to look back; and in sheer delight she caught 
hold of my arm and stood close to me. And no wonder 
she was moved, for in the world there can be few places 
of equal beauty of a similar kind. Right above us to the 
right, and again across the valley, towered mountains 
of rich brown with patches of purple and lines of green ; 
and in front of us in the centre of the amphitheatre, two 
round hills, looming large in a delicate mist, served as 
portals to the valley which trended upward between the 
hills beyond. The road to Braemar seemed like a veritable 
road of mystery, guarded by an enchanted gate. With 
a sigh we turned our backs on all this beauty, and skirt- 
ing the river, ran by Cambus-o-May and between woods 
of pine in an opening vista of new loveliness. East- 
ward before us lay a mighty sweep of hill and moor, 
backed on every side by great mountains which fell away 
one behind the other into misty distance of delicate blue. 
At our feet far below, lay two spreading lakes of sap- 
phire hue, fringed here and there with woods, and dotted 
with little islands whose trees bent down to the water's 

A Ride Through the Mountains 129 

edge. Marjory stood rapt for awhile, her breast heaving 
and her face glowing. At last she turned to me with 
a sigh; her beautiful eyes were bright with unshed tears 
as she said: 

" Oh, was there ever in the world anything so beauti- 
ful as this Country! And was there ever so exquisite a 
ride as ours to-day ! " 

Does ever a man love a woman more than when she 
shows herself susceptible to beauty, and is moved to the 
fulness and simplicity of emotion which is denied to 
his own sex? I thought not, as Marjory and I swept 
down the steep road and skirted by the crystal lakes of 
Ceander and Davan to the wood in which we were 
to have our al fresco lunch. Here, sheltered from the 
wind, the sunshine seemed too strong to make sitting in 
the open pleasant; and we were glad to have the shade 
of the trees. As we sat down and I began to unpack the 
luncheon, Marjory said: 

" And now tell me how you have been getting on with 
the cipher." I stood still for so long that she raised 
her head and took a sharp glance of surprise at me. 

In the charm of her presence I had absolutely for- 
gotten all about the cipher and what might grow from it. 



44f 1 HERE is so much to tell" I said "that 1 

hardly know where to begin. Perhaps I 

had better tell you all here, where we are 

alone and not likely to be disturbed. We have come so 

fast that we have lots of time and we need not hurry. 

When you have had your lunch I shall tell you all." 

" Oh please don't wait till then," she said, " I am all 
impatience. Let me know right away." 

" Young woman " I said sternly " you are at present 
insincere. You know you are ravenously hungry, as 
you should be after a twenty mile ride; and you are 
speaking according to your idea of convention and not out 
of your heart. This is not convention; there is nothing 
conventional in the whole outfit. Eat the food prepared 
for you by the thoughtfulness of a very beautiful and 
charming girl ! " She held up a warning finger and 

" Remember 'Bon Camarade without prejudice.' " 

" All right " I answered " so it shall be. But if the 
lady wants to hold me up for criminal libel I shall un- 
dertake to repeat the expression when, and where, and 
how she will. I shall repeat the assertion and abide by 
the consequences." She went on eating her sandwiches, 
not, I thought, displeased. When we had both finished 
she turned to me and said : 

" Now ! " I took from my pocket the rescript of 

A Secret Shared 131 

Don Bernardino de Escoban's narrative and handed it to 
her. She looked at it, turned over the pages, and glanced 
at them as she went. Then she returned to the beginning, 
and after reading the first few lines, said to me with 
an eager look in her eyes: 

"Is this really the translation of the secret writing? 
Oh, 1 am so glad you have succeeded. You are cute ! " 
She took out her watch, and having looked at it, went 
on : " We have loads of time. Won't you read it for 
me? It will be so much nicer! And let me ask you 

" Delighted ! " I answered, " But would it not be better 
if I read it right through first, and then let you ask 
questions! Or better still you read it yourself right 
through, and then ask." I had a purpose in this. If I 
had to read it, my eyes must be wholly engrossed in my 
work; but if she read, I need never take them off her 
face. I longed to see the varying expression with which 
she would follow every phase of the strange story. She 
thought for a few seconds before answering, and as she 
thought looked me straight in the eyes. I think she read 
my secret, or at any rate enough of it to fathom my 
wish ; nothing else could account for the gentle blush that 
spread over her face. Then she said in quite a meek 

" I shall read it myself if you think it best ! " 

I shall never forget that reading. Her face, always 
expressive, was to me like an open book. I was by this 
time quite familiar with de Escoban's narrative, as I had 
with infinite patience dug it out letter by letter from 
the cipher in which it had been buried for so long. As 
also I had written it out fair twice over, it was little 
wonder that I knew it well. As she read I so followed 
that I could have told to a sentence how far she had got 
in the history. Once she unconsciously put her hand to 

132 The Mystery of the Sea 

her throat and felt the brooch; but immediately drew it 
away again, glancing for a moment at me from under 
her eyelashes to see whether I had observed. She saw 
I had, shook her head with a smile, and read on. 

When she had finished reading, she gave a long sigh 
and then held out her hand to me saying: 

" Bravo ! I congratulate you with all my heart ! " Her 
touch thrilled me; she was all on fire, and there was a 
purposeful look in her face which was outside and beyond 
any joy that she could have with regard to any success 
of mine. This struck me so much that I said impulsively : 

" Why are you so glad ? " She answered instinctively 
and without thought: 

" Because you will keep it from the Spaniards ! " Then 
she stopped suddenly, with a gesture of self repression. 

I felt a little piqued. I would have thought that her 
concern would have been rather individual than political. 
That in such a matter even before racial hatred would 
have come gladness at the well-doing of even such a 
friend without prejudice as I was. Looking at me, she 
seemed to see through me and said 

" With her two white hands extended, as if praying one offended:" 

" Oh, I am sorry ! I did not mean to hurt you. I 
can't explain yet; not to-day, which is for comradeship 
only. Yes without prejudice " for she saw my look and 
answered it " But some day you will understand." She 
was so evidently embarrassed and pained at having for 
some reason which I did not comprehend to show ret- 
icence to me who had been so open with her, that I felt 
it my duty to put her at ease. This I tried to do by 
assuring her that I quite understood that she had some 
good reason, and that I was quite content to wait. I 
could not help adding before I stopped : " This is a 

A Secret Shared 133 

small thing to have to wait for after all; when I have 
to wait for something so much more important." The 
warning finger was held up again with a smile. 

Then we went over the whole of the narrative again, I 
reading this time and she stopping to ask me questions. 
There was not much to ask; all the story was so plain 
that the proceeding did not take very long. Then she 
asked me to explain how I had come to decipher the 
cryptogram. I took out my pocket book and proceeded 
to make a key to the cipher, explaining as I went on the 
principle. " To me," I said, " it is very complete, and can 
be used in an infinity of ways. Any mode of expression 
can be used that has two objects with five varieties of 
each." Here she interrupted me. As I was explaining 
I was holding out my hands with the fingers spread as 
a natural way of expressing my meaning. She saw at 
once what had escaped me, and clasping her hands ex- 
claimed impulsively: 

" Like your two hands ! It is delightful ! Two hands, 
and five fingers on each. We can talk a new deaf and 
dumb alphabet; which no one but ourselves can under- 
stand ! " Her words thrilled through me. One more 
secret to share with her ; one more secret which would be 
in perpetual exercise, in pursuance of a common thought. 
I was about to speak when she stopped me with a gesture. 
" Sorry ! " she said. " Go on ; explain to me ! We can 
think of variety later ! " So I continued : 

" So long as we have means that are suitable, we have 
only to translate into the biliteral, and we who know this 
can understand. Thus we have a double guard of secrecy. 
There are some who could translate into symbols with 
which they are familiar, symbols with which they are not ; 
but in this method we have a buffer of ignorance or mys- 
tery between the known and the unknown. There is 
also this advantage ; the cipher as it stands is sufficiently 

134 The Mystery of the Sea 

on a basis of science or at any rate of order, that its key 
is easily capable of reproduction. As you have seen, I 
can make a key without any help. Bacon's biliteral 
cipher is scientifically accurate. It can, therefore, be easily 
reproduced; the method of exclusions is also entirely 
rational, so that we need have no difficulty in remembering 
it. If two people would take the trouble to learn the 
symbols of the biliteral, as kept after the exclusions and 
which are used in this cipher, they might with very little 
practice be able to write or read off-hand. Indeed the 
suggestion, which you have just made, of a deaf-and- 
dumb alphabet is capital. It is as simple as the daylight ! 
You have only to decide whether the thumb or the little 
finger means i or 2; and then reproduce by right hand 
or left, and using the fingers of each hand, the five sym- 
bols of the amended biliteral, and you can talk as well 
and as easily as do the deaf mutes ! " Again she spoke 
out impulsively: 

" Let us both learn off by heart the symbols of our 
cipher ; and then we shan't want even to make a key. We 
can talk to each other in a crowd, and no one be the wiser 
of what we are saying." 

This was very sweet to me. When a man is in love, as 
I was, anything which links him to his lady, and to her 
alone, has a charm beyond words. Here was a perpetual 
link, if we cared to make it so, and if the Fates would 
be good to us." 

" The Fates ! " With the thought came back Gor- 
mala's words to me at the beginning. She had told me, 
and somehow I seemed to have always believed the same, 
that the Fates worked to their own end and in their own 
way. Kindness or unkindness had no part in their work- 
ings ; pity had no place at the beginning of their interest, 
no more than had remorse at the end. Was it possible that 
in the scheme of Fate, in which Gormala and I and 

A Secret Shared 135 

Lauchlane Macleod had places, there was also a place for 
Marjory? The Witch-woman had said that the Fates 
would work their will, though for the doing of it came 
elements out of past centuries and from the ends of the 
earth. The cipher of Don de Escoban had lain hidden 
three centuries, only to be revived at its due time. Mar- 
jory had come from a nation which had no existence when 
the Don had lived, and from a place which in his time 
was the far home of the red man and the wolf and the 
bison and the bear. 

But yet what was there to connect Marjory with Don de 
Escoban and his secret? As I thought, 1 saw Marjory 
who had turned her back to me, quietly take something 
from her throat and put it into her pocket. Here was the 
clue indeed. 

The brooch! When I had taken it up from the sea 
at the Sand Craigs I had returned it to her with only a 
glance ; and as I had often seen it since, without any mys- 
tery, I had hardly noticed it. It rushed in on my mind 
that it was of the same form as that described by Don de 
Escoban as having been given by the Pope. I had only 
noticed a big figure and a little one ; but surely it could be 
none other than .a figure of St. Christopher. I should 
have liked to have asked Marjory about it at once; but 
her words already spoken putting off explanation, and 
her recent act, of which I was supposed to know nothing, 
in putting it out of sight, forbade me to inquire. All the 
more I thought, however; and other matters regarding it 
crowded into my mind. 

The chain was complete, the only weak link being the 
connection between Marjory and the St. Christopher 
brooch. And even here there was a mystery, acknowl- 
edged in her concealment, which might explain itself when 
the time came. 

Matters took such a grave turn for me with my latest 

136 The Mystery of the Sea 

surmise, that I thought it would be well to improve the 
occasion with Marjory, in so far as it might be possible 
to learn something of her surroundings. I was barred 
from asking questions by her own wish ; but still I did not 
like to lose the chance without an effort, so I said to her : 

" We have learned a lot to-day, haven't we? " 

" Indeed we have. It hardly seems possible that a day 
could make such a change ! " 

" I suppose we should take it that new knowledge 
should apply new conditions to established fact? " I said 
this with some diffidence; and I could see that the 
change in my tone, much against my will, attracted her 
attention. She evidently understood my wish, for she 
answered with decision: 

" If you mean by ' new conditions ' any alteration of the 
compact made between us for to-day yes, I remember 
' without prejudice ' there is nothing in our new knowl- 
edge to alter the old ones. Do remember, sir, that this 
day is one set apart, and nothing that is not a very grave 
matter indeed can be allowed to alter what is established 
regarding it." 

" Then," said I, " at all events let us learn the cipher 
our cipher as you very properly called it." 

" Oh no ! surely ? " this was said with a rising blush. 

" Indeed, yes I am glad to say ! " 

" Take care ! " she replied, meaningly, then she added : 

" Very well ! Ours let it be. But really and truly I 
have no right to its discovery; it makes me feel like a 
fraud to hear you say so." 

" Be easy," I replied. " You helped me more than I 
can say. It was your suggestion to reduce the terms of 
the biliteral; and it was by that means that I read the 
cipher. But at any rate when we call it ' ours ' it will con- 
tent me if the word ' ours ' I could not help repeating the 
word for it was delight to me; it did not displease her 

A Secret Shared 137 

either, though it made her blush " is applied not to in- 
vention but to possession ! " 

" All right," she said. " That is good of you. I 
cannot argue with you. Amendment accepted! Come, 
let us get on our wheels again. You have the key of our 
cipher with you; you can tell me the items one by one, 
and we will learn them as we go along." 

And so as we swept round Davan Lake, with the wind 
behind us driving us along except just before we regained 
the high road at Dinnet, I repeated the symbols of the 
reduced biliteral. We went over and over them again 
and again, till we were unable to puzzle each other ques- 
tioning up and down, ' dodging ' as the school-boys say. 

Oh, but that ride was delightful! There was some 
sort of conscious equality between us which I could see 
my comrade felt as well as myself. Down the falling 
road we sped almost without effort, our wheels seeming 
to glide on air. When we came to the bridge over the 
railway just above Aboyne, where the river comes north 
and runs in under a bank of shale and rock, we dis- 
mounted and looked back. Behind us was our last view 
of the gorge above Ballater, where the two round hills 
stood as portals, and where the cloud rack hanging above 
and beyond made a mystery which was full of delightful 
fascination and no less delightful remembrance. Then 
with a sigh we turned. 

There, before us lay a dark alley between the closing 
pines. No less mysterious, but seemingly dark and grim. 


E did not stop at Aboyne, but ran on beyond 
Kincardine O'Neill, and took our second 
rest close to the Bridge of Potarch where we 
had tea at the little hotel on the right bank of the river. 
Then for a while we leaned over the parapet and looked at 
the water flowing swiftly far below as the river narrows 
from its pebbly bed to the gorge of rock on which the 
bridge rests. There is something soothing, perhaps some- 
thing, hypnotic, in the ceaseless rush of water. It uncon- 
sciously takes one's thoughts on and on, till the reality of 
the present is in some measure lost and the mind wanders 
towards imagination through the regions of the unknown. 
As I looked at Marjory, with the afternoon sun falling on 
her superb figure and showing up her clear-cut profile 
with all the finish of a cameo, I could not but be struck 
with the union of gentleness and independence which was 
so clearly manifested in her. Without thinking, I spoke 
out my mind. It is a privilege of those who understand 
each other, or of the very young, to give voice to the 
latter portion of a train of thought without feeling it 
necessary to enlighten the hearer as to what has gone to 
make up the conclusion. The feeling was hourly growing 
upon me that, even if I could not quite understand Mar- 
jory, at least she understood me. 

" But then all you American girls are so independent! " 
She did not seem a bit surprised by this fag end of reason- 


A Peculiar Dinner-Party 139 

ing; she had evidently been following up some train of 
thought of her own, and by some happy instinct my 
words fitted in with it. Without turning towards me, but 
still keeping her eyes fixed down the stream to where far 
away it swayed to the right through a gap between pine 
clad hills she answered : 

" Yes ! We are as a rule brought up to be independent. 
It seems to be a part of what our people call the ' genius ' 
of the country. Indeed for many, women as well as men, 
it is a sort of necessity. Our nation is so vast, and it ex- 
pands so quickly, that there . is nearly everywhere a 
family separation. In the main, all the children of one 
generation become the heads of families of the next. 
Somehow, the bulk of our young people still follow the 
sunset ; and in the new life which comes to each, whether 
in the fields or in the city or in the reclamation of the 
wilderness, the one thing which makes life endurable is 
this independence which is another form of self-reliance. 
This it is which enables them to brave hunger and thirst 
and all danger which comes to pioneers; which in the 
cities makes the solitude of lonely life bearable to the 
young as well as to the old ; which makes them work and 
study in patience ; which makes them self-sacrificing, and 
thrifty, and long enduring. I tell you it is this which 
makes a race of patriots, whose voices swell in unison till 
the great voice of the nation, raised in some good cause, 
can ring and echo through the world ! " As she spoke she 
got more and more earnest, more and more enthusiastic, 
till her voice began to vibrate and her face to flush. 
When she turned towards me at the end, her eyes were 
full of spiritual light. I looked at her, and I suppose my 
love as well as my admiration must have expressed itself, 
for her eyes fell and the flush on her face melted into a 
soft blush. She turned, looked at the water again, and 
then went on speaking : 

140 The Mystery of the Sea 

" This is the good side of our independence and faute 
de mieux it serves; those who know no better do not 
miss what might be. But oh ! it has to be paid for. The 
little sufferings of day by day can grow into a mass which 
in the end outweighs those seemingly far greater ills 
which manifest themselves all at once. No one knows, 
no one ever will know, how much quiet, dull pain goes to 
tame a woman's heart to the solitude of life. I have not 
seen so much of it as some others ; my life has been laid in 
pleasant places, and only through the small accidents of 
life have I come to know of the negative pain which other 
girls have to endure. It is so much to have round one the 
familiar faces of our youth; to meet sympathy at every 
turn of life, and to know that there is understanding for 
us always. We women have to give something in order 
to be happy. The stronger-minded ones, as we call them, 
blame the Creator for this disposition of things or else I 
do not know who or what they blame ; but the rest of us, 
who are wise enough to accept what cannot be altered, 
try to realise what can be done for the best. We all want 
to care for some one or something, if it is only a cat or a 
dog. For myself, so far back as I can remember, I longed 
to have a brother or sister, but I think that in my secret 
heart it was a brother I wanted. Of course as I merged 
into my actual surroundings I grew out of this; but 
once it was brought home to me with new force. We 
were staying for a few days in one of those great English 
houses where there was a growing family of boys and 
girls. There was one sweet young girl, just about my own 
age, who seemed idolised by all her brothers. When we 
arrived they were all going in to evening prayers. The 
last of the sunlight was falling through the old stained 
glass window of the great baronial hall, and lit up the 
little family group. The girl sat between two of her 
young brothers, great stalwart lads who had all the char- 

A Peculiar Dinner-Party 141 

acteristics of a family of soldiers. During prayers each 
of them held one of her hands ; and when they all knelt, 
her arms went round their necks. I could not help feel- 
ing deeply down into the very depths of my soul how 
good it was for them all. I would have given everything 
I have, or am ever likely to have, that mine had been 
such an upbringing. Think, how in after years it will 
come back to those boys in hours of trial, or pain, or pros- 
perity, or passion; in all times when their manhood or 
their honour or their worth is' to be tried ; how they will 
remember the words which were spoken to them as those 
were spoken, and were listened to as those were listened to, 
in the midst of sympathy and love. Many and many a time 
in years to come those boys will bless such hours, and God 
Himself will surely rejoice that His will was being 
wrought in so sweet a way. And the same thing is going 
on in a thousand English homes ! " She paused and 
turned to me and the feeling in her heart found expression 
in the silent tears that ran down her cheeks. Again she 
turned her eyes to the running water and gazed awhile 
before speaking again. Then looking at me, she went 

" And the girl, too, how good it was for her ! What 
an antidote to selfishness ! How much of self-control, of 
sympathy, of love, of toleration was begun and fostered 
and completed in those moments of the expression of her 
heart! What place can there really be for selfish want 
and sorrows in the heart of a woman so trained to sympa- 
thise with and help others ? It is good ! good ! good ! and 
I pray that in the later development of my own dear coun- 
try, all such things may have a part. Expansion at its 
present rate must soon cease ; and then some predominant 
idea must take the place of the eternal self-independence. 
We shall, I trust, moult no feather of our national feeling 
of personal duty ; but I am sure that our people, and more 

142 The Mystery of the Sea 

especially our women, will lead happier as well as Health- 
ier lives." 

This present phase of Marjory's character was new to 
me, fresh and enchanting. Every hour seemed to bring 
out new worths and beauties of the girl's character, of her 
intellectual gifts, of the endless wealth of her heart. 

When she ceased speaking 1 took her hand in mine, she 
not resenting, and kissed it. I said only one word 
" Marjory ! " but it was enough. I could see that in her 
eyes which made my heart leap. 

Then a new life seemed to come to both of us. With 
one accord we moved towards our bicycles, and mounted 
in silence. After a few minutes of rapid spin down the 
sloping road from the bridge, we began to chat again 
gaily. For myself I was in wildly joyous spirits. Even 
a self-doubting lover could not fail to understand such a 
look in his mistress's eyes. If ever love spoke out in elo- 
quent silence it was then, all doubt melted from my 
heart, as the night shadows pale before the dawn. I was 
content to wait now, illimitably and in silence. She, 
too, seemed altogether happy, and accepted in unquestion- 
ing faith all the little pleasures which came in the progress 
of our journey. And such pleasures are many. As we 
drew down the valley of the Dee, with the mountains 
falling back and the dark pinewoods running up them 
like tongues of flame and emphasising by their gloom 
the brightness of grass and heather which cropped up 
amongst the rocks beyond, every turn of the road brought 
us to some new scene of peaceful beauty. From under 
the splendid woods of Crathes Castle we saw the river 
running like a blue ribbon far to the east and on either side 
of it fields and gardens and woods spreading wide. On 
we sped with delight in every moment, till at last through 
miles of shady woods we came to the great stone bridge, 

A Peculiar Dinner-Party 143 

and ended our jaunt over the rough granite cobble- 
stones of Aberdeen. 

We were a little before the time the train was due ; so 
leaving our wheels in the Palace Hotel we went down 
on the platform to meet Mrs. Jack on her arrival. 

We met her in due course, and brought her up to the 
hotel. At the stairway Marjory, who had lingered half a 
flight behind her companion, whispered to me : 

" You have been a good boy to-day, a real good boy ; 
and you shall before long have your reward." As she 
gave me her hand, I whispered : 

" I am content to wait now Marjory; dear Marjory! " 
She blushed and smiled, and fled upstairs with a warning 
ringer laid upon her lips. 

It had been understood that I was to dine with Mrs. 
Jack and her friend, so I went up to the room which I had 
secured, to change my clothes. When 1 came down, in 
what I thought was a reasonable time, I went to the 
private sitting-room and knocked. As there was no an- 
swer I knocked again; then receiving no reply I took it 
for granted that the ladies had not yet come from their 
rooms and entered. 

The room was empty but on the table which was laid for 
dinner for three was a note in Marjory's hand directed to 
me. With a sinking of the heart I opened it, and stood for 
a few minutes amazed. It had no apostrophe and ran as 
follows : 

" We have had to leave suddenly, but Mrs. Jack wants 
you to oblige her very much if you will be so good. Stay 
in the room, and when dinner is served sit down by your- 
self and eat it. Please, please do not think hardly of 
Mrs. Jack's request ; and do not fail to carry it out. There 
is good reason for it, as you will very soon know. More 

144 The Mystery of the Sea 

depends on your doing as Mrs. Jack " the " Mrs. Jack " 
was written over an obliterated " I " " asks than you 
may think. I am sure that by this time you know you 
can trust me. 


The situation was disappointing and both humiliating 
and embarrassing. To be a guest under such conditions 
was almost ridiculous ; and under ordinary circumstances 
I should have refused. But then I remembered that last 
look of Marjory's eyes at the bridge of Potarch! With- 
out a word, or another thought, of revolt I sat down to 
the dinner which the waiter was just now bringing into 
the room. 

As it was evident to me that my staying in the room 
was for some purpose of delay, 1 lingered over my wine 
and had two cigars before I came away. 


IN the hall I met together two men whom I knew well. 
The first was Adams of the American Embassy in 
London; the second Cathcart of 'ihe British Em- 
bassy at Washington, now on leave. I had not seen 
either for two years, and it was with mutual pleasure 
that we met. After our preliminary handshaking, and the 
inevitable drink at the American's request, Adams slapped 
me on the shoulder and said her.rtily: 

" Well, old fellow, I congratulate you ; or rather am I 
to congratulate you?" 

" What do you mean ? " I asked in feeble embarrass- 

" All right, old chap ! " he said heartily. " Your blush 
is enough. I see it hasn't come off yet at all events ! " 
A man never lets well alone when he is in an awkward 
position. If I had only held my tongue I might not have 
made a guy of myself ; but as I was in doubt as to what 
might be the issue of my suit to Marjory, I felt addition- 
ally constrained to affect ignorance of his meaning. So I 
floundered on: 

"'Come off yet'? What on earth do you mean?" 
Again he slapped me on the back as he said in his chaffing 

" My dear boy I saw you come in over the bridge. 
You had had a long ride I could see by your wheels ; and 
I am bound to say that you did seem on excellent terms 

MS 10 

146 The Mystery of the Sea 

with each other ! " This was getting dangerous ground, 
so I tried to sheer off. " Oh," I said, " you mean my 
bike ride with Miss Anita " I was interrupted by his 
sudden whistle. 

" Oh," he said in exact imitation of my own manner. 
" You mean Miss Anita ! So it has come to that al- 
ready! Anyhow I congratulate you heartily, whether 
it 'has come, or may come, or will come to anything 

" I don't see," I said, with a helpless feeling of having 
been driven into a corner, " that there is anything es- 
pecially remarkable in a man having a bicycle ride with a 
young lady of his acquaintance." 

" Keep your hair on, old man ! " he said with a smile. 
" There is nothing remarkable about a man riding with a 
young lady ; but there is something very remarkable about 
any man riding with this particular young lady. Why, 
man alive, don't you know that there isn't a man in 
America, or out of it, that wouldn't give the eyes out of 
his head to take your place on such an occasion. To ride 
alone with Marjory Drake " 

" With whom ? " I said impulsively ; and having spoken 
could have bitten out my tongue. Adams paused ; he was 
silent so long that I began to grow uneasy. His face grew 
very grave, and there spread over it that look between 
cunning and dominance which was his official expression. 
Then he spoke, but his words had not the same careless 
ring in them. There was a manifest caution and a certain 
indefinable sense of distance. 

" Look here, Archie Hunter ! Is it possible that you 
don't know who it is that you were with. All right! I 
know of course that you are acquainted with her person- 
ally," for he saw I was about to protest, " the very fact 
of your being with her and your knowing the name that 
she seldom uses answer for that ; and you may take it from 

Revelations 147 

me that the lady needs no character for discretion from 
me. But how is it that you are on such good terms with 
her, and yet don't seem even to know her name ? " For 
fully a minute there was silence between us. Cathcart had 
as yet said not a word, and Adams was thinking. For 
myself I was in a sea of multitudinous concerns; which- 
ever way I turned I was face to face with some new diffi- 
culty. It would not do to leave these men under the 
impression that there was any social irregularity in my 
friendship with Marjory; 1 was too jealous of her good 
name to allow such a thing to be possible. And yet I 
could not explain at length how we had come to be such 
good friends. Already there were so many little mys- 
teries ; right up to this very evening when she and Mrs. 
Jack had gone away so strangely, leaving me in the 
ridiculous position of a guest with no host. It was not 
easy to explain these things; it was impossible to avoid 
them. In the midst of this chaotic whirl of thoughts 
Adams spoke: 

" I think I had better say no more, anyhow. After all, 
if Miss Drake chooses to keep a secret, or to make one, 
it is not my business to give it, or her, away. She knows 
what she's doing. You will excuse me, old fellow, won't 
you; but as it is manifestly a lady's wish, I think I can 
do best by holding my tongue. 

" Any wish of that lady's," said I, and I felt that I 
must seem to speak grandiloquently, " can only have my 
most loyal support." 

There was an awkward silence which was relieved by 
Cathcart, who said to me: 

" Come up to my room, Archie ; I want to tell you 
something. You'll join us, too, Sam, won't you?" 

" All right, Billy/' said Adams, " I'll come in a few 
minutes. I want to give some directions about a horse 
for to-morrow." 

148 The Mystery of the Sea 

When we were in Cathcart's room, he closed the door 
and said to me with the most genuine good feeling : 

" I didn't like to say a word downstairs, old chap ; 
but I could see you were in some difficulty. Of course 
I know it's all right; but ought you not to know some- 
thing of the lady? With any one else but Sam and 
myself such a thing might have conveyed a false im- 
pression. Surely you can best protect the lady by know- 
ing how to avoid anything that might embarrass her ! " 
This was all good sound common sense. For a mo- 
ment I weighed up the matter against the possibility 
of Marjory's wishing to keep her name a secret. Look- 
ing back, however, I could see that any concealment that 
had been was rather positive than negative. The original 
error had been mine; she had simply allowed it to pass. 
The whole thing had probably been the passing fancy 
of a bright, spirited young girl ; to take it too seriously, 
or to make too much of it might do harm. Why, even 
these men might, were I to regard it as important, take 
it as some piece of deliberate deceit on her part. Thus 
convinced of the wisdom of Cathcart's proposition I 
spoke : 

" You are quite right ! and I shall be much obliged if 
you will if you will enlighten me." He bowed and 
smiled, and went on genially: 

" The lady you called Miss Anita, you so far called 
quite correctly. Her name is Anita; but it is only her 
second Christian name. She is known to the world as 
Miss Marjory Drake, of Chicago." 

" Known to the world." Was this a mere phrase, or 
the simple expression of a fact ! I asked directly : 

" How known to the world ? Do you mean that is 
the name known amongst her circle of acquaintances ? Is 
is there any cause why the great world outside that 
circle should know her at all? " He smiled and laid his. 

Revelations 149 

hand on my shoulder in a very brotherly way as he an- 
swered : 

" Yes, old fellow. There is a reason, and a good one, 
why the great world should know her. I see you are all 
in the dark ; so I had better tell you what I know. Mar- 
jory Anita Drake is an heiress, a great heiress, a very 
great heiress ; perhaps a long way the greatest heiress in 
America, or out of it. Her father, who died when she 
was a baby, left her a gigantic fortune ; and her trustees 
have multiplied it over and over again." He paused; so 
I said it seeming necessary to say something: 

" But being an heiress is not sufficient reason why a 
girl should be known to the world." 

" It is a pretty good one. Most people wouldn't want 
any better. But this is not the reason in her case. She 
is the girl who gave the battle ship to the American Gov- 
ernment ! " 

" Gave the battle ship ! I don't understand ! " 

" It was this way. At the time the reports kept crowd- 
ing in of the Spanish atrocities on the reconcentrados; 
when public feeling was rising in the United States, 
this girl got all on fire to free Cuba. To this end she 
bought a battle ship that the Cramp's had built for Japan. 
She had the ship armed with Krupp cannon which she 
bought through friends in Italy ; and went along the East- 
ern coast amongst the sailors and fishermen till she had 
recruited a crew. Then she handed the whole thing over 
to the Government as a spur to it to take some action. The 
ship is officered with men from the Naval Academy at 
Annapolis; and they tell me there isn't one of the crew 
from the cabin boy to tKe captain that wouldn't die 
for the girl to-morrow." 

" Bravo ! " I said instinctively ! " That's a girl for a 
nation to be proud of ! " 

" She is all that ! " said Cathcart enthusiastically. 

150 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Now you can understand why Adams congratulated you ; 
and why he was so surprised when you did not seem to 
know who she was." I stood for a moment thinking, and 
all the clouds which wrapped Marjory's purpose in mys- 
tery seemed to disperse. This, then, was why she allowed 
the error of her name to pass. She had not made an incog- 
nita; chance had done this for her, and she had simply 
accepted it. Doubtless, wearied with praise and with 
publicity and notoriety in all its popular forms, she was 
glad to get away and hide herself for a while. Fortune 
had thrown in her way a man who was manifestly ignor- 
ant of her very existence; and it was a pleasure to play 
with him at hide-and-seek! 

It was, after all, an up-to-date story of the Princess 
in disguise; and I was the young man, all unknowing, 
with whom she had played. 

Here a terrible doubt assailed me. Other Princesses 
had played hide-and-seek; and, having had their sport, 
had vanished ; leaving desolation and an empty heart be- 
hind them. Was it possible that she too was like this; 
that she had been all the while playing with me; that 
even whilst she was being most gracious, she was taking 
steps to hide even her whereabouts from me? Here was 
1, who had even proposed marriage ; and yet who did not 
even know when or where I should see her again if in- 
deed I should ever see her again at all. I could not 
believe it. I had looked into her eyes, and had seen the 
truth. Here was no wanton playing at bowls with men's 
hearts. My life upon her faith! 

I seemed to have lost myself in a sort of trance. I 
was recalled from it by Cathcart, who seeing me in a 
reverie had gone over to the fireplace and stood with his 
back to me, filling his pipe at the mantel-piece: 

" I think I hear Adams coming. Pardon me, old fel- 
low, but though I am sure he knows I have told you 

Revelations 151 

about Miss Drake, and though he probably made an ex- 
cuse for delay so that I might have an opportunity to do 
so, he wants to appear not to enter on the subject. He 
is diplomat all over. Remember he is of tfie U. S. Em- 
bassy ; and Miss Drake, as an American citizen, is theo- 
retically under his care in this foreign country. Let us 
be talking of something else when he comes in ! " Sam 
came along the passage softly whistling a bar of " Yankee 
Doodle." Cathcart nodded to me and whispered: 

" I told you so ! He takes good care that he may not 
surprise us." When he came in we were talking of the 
prospects of the Autumn fishing on the Dee. 

When we left Cathcart's room, after a cigar, I, being 
somewhat tired with my long ride, went at once to my 
room. Adams came with me as far as the door. 

I was just getting into bed when I heard a slight tap 
at the door. I unlocked it and found Adams without. He 
raised a warning hand, and said in a whisper : 

" May I come in ? I want to say something very pri- 
vately." More than ever mystified everything seemed 
a mystery now I opened the door. He came in and I 
closed it softly and locked it. 


ADAMS began at once : " Archie I want to tell 
you something; but it is in the strictest con- 
fidence. You must promise me not to mention 
to any one, mind any one, what I say; or even that I 
have spoken to you on the subject." I thought for a 
moment before replying. It flashed across me that what 
he had to say must concern Marjory, so I answered: 

" I fear I cannot make such a promise, if the matter 
is regarding some one other than myself." A shade of 
annoyance passed across his face as he said : 

" Well, it is about some one else ; but really you must 
trust me. I would not for the world, old fellow, ask 
you to do anything that was not correct." 

" I know that " I said " I know it right well ; but you 
see it might be regarding some one with whom my 
relations might be peculiar not fixed you know. It 
might be necessary for me to speak. Perhaps not now; 
but later on." I was stumbling blindly, so sought refuge 
in fact and query, " Tell me " I said " does it relate to 
Miss Drake?" 

" It does ; but I thought that you who are a friend of 
hers might like to do her a service." 

" Of course I would." I answered. '"' There is noth- 
ing I would not do for her if it were in my power." 

" Except hold your tongue ! '* he said with a touch 
of bitterness unusual with him., I could see* that anxious 


Sam Adams's Task 153 

as I was to hear he was still more anxious to tell me; 
so I was able to keep my temper and not make matters 
worse by answering back sarcastically. I said: 

" Yes, old chap, even by holding my tongue. If I 
could see that 1 would benefit her by holding my tongue, 
or by cutting out my tongue, I would do it. What I 
must refuse is to promise to hold my tongue. Come, 
old fellow, don't put me in a wrong position. You don't 
know all that I do, or exactly how I am placed. Why 
don't you trust me ? I am willing to promise that I won't 
speak at all of the matter unless it be necessary; and 
that I won't speak at all in any case of having been told 
anything by you." He brightened up at once and said: 

" All right, then we can drive on. I take it that since 
we met last " that was a few minutes ago, but he was 
a diplomatist " you have learned more about Miss 
Drake, or rather of her history and her position and 
importance, than you knew at that time ? " 

" Yes," I answered, and I could not help smiling. 

" Then we needn't go into that. We take facts for 
granted. Well, that fine act of hers you know what 
I mean has brought her, or may bring her, a peck of 
trouble. There are, or there were, a certain lot of Span- 
iards Copperheads at home who look on her as a 
sort of embodiment of the American antagonism to their 
own nation. They are the low lot ; for mind you, though 
we are at war with them 1 say it, the good Spaniard is 
a fine fellow. It came to the ears of the authorities in 
Washington that there was some sort of plot on foot to 
do her a harm. The Secret Service was a little at fault, 
and couldn't get accurate or full information; for natur- 
ally enough the Spaniards didn't trust any but themselves 
in such a matter. We know enough, however, to be some- 
what concerned for her ; and it was arranged that a secret 
watch should be kept on her, so that no harm should 

154 The Mystery of the Sea 

come that could be prevented. The proper men had been 
detailed off for the work; when to our surprise, and a 
little to our consternation, it turned out that the young 
lady had disappeared. We knew of course that her going 
was voluntary; she had left word to that effect, so that 
there might not be any bother made about her. But the 
trouble was that she did not know of the danger which 
threatened her ; and as our people didn't know where she 
was, no step could be taken to protect or warn her. It 
is clear that my lady got tired of fireworks and of the 
Joan of Arc business, and bolted. It was considered nec- 
essary at headquarters that we should in the meantime 
all keep our heads shut. But we were advised at the 
Embassy in London that the plot was on, and that 
we should hump ourselves a bit to look after her in 
case she was in England. The matter was handed over 
to me, and I have been on the run ever since ; but I have 
not been able to hear tale or tiding of her. Two days 
ago we got a cable in our cipher which told us that, from 
information received and the rest of it, they suspected 
she was in England, or probably in Scotland; and that 
there was later evidence that the plot was more active 
than ever. Unfortunately we have as yet no details, and 
not even a clue. That is why I am here. I came down 
with Cathcart, who fortunately was bound for the North, 
as it covered up my purpose. I have been in a regular 
stew for days past. Marjory Drake is too good to have 
any trouble come to her that any American can help. You 
can imagine my delight when I saw her this evening ; for 
now that I have located her, I can take steps to look after 
her safety if necessary. You two went so fast on your 
wheels that I lost you at the Bridge ; but I surmised that 
you would be coming here anyhow after your ride. So 
I came up as quickly as I could, and saw you two and the 
old lady come up from the railway station. I couldn't get 

Sam Adams's Task 155 

to see Miss Drake to-night; but I expect to look her 
up pretty early in the morning." 

Here was a new entanglement. It seemed to me as 
more than likely that Marjory, having seen Adams and 
knowing his diplomatic position, suspected some inter- 
ference with her liberty, and made an escape at once. 
This, then, was the reason why she had asked me to stay 
and eat dinner alone; I was to cover up her tracks and 
secure her a night's delay. Thus, even to Adams, my 
tongue was tied as to her movements. I did not wish 
to seem to deceive him, so avoided the subject. In an- 
swer to him I asked: 

" But tell me, old fellow, how and where do I come 
into your story ? Why do you tell me this ? " He an- 
swered very gravely: 

" Because I want your help. This is, or rather may 
be, a very serious matter to Miss Drake. The whole 
business is entrusted by our government to my chief, who 
has detailed me on the service. It is of so delicate and 
secret a nature that I cannot make confidence with many 
people, and I am loth to trust any one but a gentleman. 
Besides Miss Drake is a very peculiar girl. She is abso- 
lutely independent, thoroughly determined, and more than 
plucky. If she knew there was a plot on foot, as likely 
as not she would try to encourage it out of mere reck- 
lessness ; and would try to counterplot all by herself. Her 
enemies know this, and will avail themselves of every 
chance and of every false move of hers ; so that she might 
help to work out herself the evil intended for her. This 
we cannot permit; and I am quite sure that you, who 
are a friend of hers, are at one with me here. Now, if 
you want to know exactly how you can help I will tell 
you; and you will, I am sure, pardon me if I say too 
much or too little. If she were to know that the matter 
of her protection was a Government one, nothing on earth 

156 The Mystery of the Sea 

would make her yield herself to our views. But if it were 
suggested by a a friend whom she she valued, her 
action would probably be quite the opposite. She is a 
girl all heart and soul. When she is taken rightly you 
can lead her with a thread; but you can't drag her with 
gun-ropes. From what I saw yesterday, I am inclined to 
think that you might have more influence with her than 
any one else I could pick out." 

I could not say anything to this, either positive or 
negative, so I remained silent. He went on: 

" There is one other reason why I ask you to help, 
but it is secondary to the other one, believe me, and 
one I only use to fortify a better one. I ask you as an 
old friend to help me in a matter which, even if you 
are not concerned in it, may be of the utmost importance 
to me in my diplomatic career. This matter has been 
placed in my hands, and it would not do for me to fail. 
There is not much KV$OS to be got out of it if all be 
well except with my immediate chiefs; but if I failed 
it would go far against me. If Marjory Drake should 
suffer from this Spanish plot, she who had, so to speak, 
fired the torch of the nation in the war, it would be formal, 
official ruin to me. There wouldn't be a man from Maine 
to California, from the Lakes to the Gulf, who wouldn't 
look on me as an imbecile, or worse ! " Whilst he was 
speaking I was thinking, and trying to make up my mind 
as to what I should do. Manifestly, I could not tell him 
of the dawning relations between Marjory and myself. 
I was not yet prepared to speak of the Pope's treasure. 
I could not in honour give away Marjory's confidence 
in me in asking me to cover up her escape, or the implied 
promise of my acceptance of it. Still, Adams's confidence 
required some measure of frankness from me. His last 
appeal to me as an old friend to help him as an individual 
in an important work, which might mar if it could not 

Sam Adams's Task 157 

make him, demanded that 1 should stretch every point 
I could in his favour. So I said : 

" Sam, I shall do all I honestly or honourably can. 
But I must ask you to wait a while and trust me. The 
fact is I am not at liberty just at present to turn any 
way I choose. I am already committed to certain confi- 
dences, which were made before I saw you or had any 
knowledge of what you tell me. Moreover, I am in cer- 
tain ways ignorant in matters that you would not expect. 
I shall at once take every step I can to be in a position 
to speak to you more freely. I am more deeply stirred, 
old fellow, by what you have told me than I can say ; and 
out of the depths of my heart I am grateful to you and 
your Government for your care for Miss Anita Miss 
Drake. I may say this, that until to-morrow at all events, 
I am unable to help you in any possible way. Were I 
to try to do anything till a certain thing happens, it would 
hinder rather than help your purpose. So wait patiently 
and do please try to understand me." 

He replied with unwonted sarcasm : 

" Try to understand you ! Why man alive I've been 
trying whilst you were speaking, until my brain reels. 
But I'm blamed if I can make head or tail of what you 
say. You seem to be snarled up in more knots than a 
conjuror. What the hell does it all mean? You don't 
seem to be able to turn anywhere or do anything, even 
when the safety or the life of such a girl as Marjory 
Drake is in question. On my faith Mr. Hunter I hope I 
don't make any mistake about you ! " 

" Yes, you do, Sam ! " I said quietly, for I could not 
but feel that he had good cause for disappointment or 
even anger. " At the first moment I am free to do so, 
I shall tell you all I can; and you shall then see that I 
am only doing what you would under similar circum- 
stances do yourself. Won't you trust me, old friend ! " 

158 The Mystery of the Sea 

He gazed at me steadily for a few seconds, and then 
his look softened. 

" By God I will ! " he said, as he held out his hand. 

" Now tell me," I said " what can I do to keep in 
touch with you. I must go back to Cruden in the morn- 
ing. It is necessary." This was in answer to his ques- 
tioning look. " It is the first step in my doing as you 
wish." I knew that Marjory would send to me, if at all, 
to Cruden. " But tell me how or where I can wire you 
in case we are not within hail." For answer he pulled 
out of his pocket a bundle of " priority " telegrams ad- 
dressed to the United States Embassy in London. 

" Take them and use them as may be required. I am 
in constant touch with the Embassy and they will know 
where to find me. How will I find you ? " 

" Send to me care of Post-office, Cruden Bay," I said, 
" I shall keep you advised of wherever I may be." With 
that we said good night. 

" I shall see you in the morning," he said as he went 


FOR some time I did not sleep. Things were hurry- 
ing on so fast; and so many new events and 
facts and dangers were coming to light, that I 
hardly knew where to begin to think. Of course all 
things concerning Marjory, principally her safety, took 
the first place. What could be this Spanish plot; what 
could be its method or its purpose? At first when 
Adams had told me of it, 1 had not been much con- 
cerned; it seemed so far away, so improbable, that I 
fear I did not take it with sufficient gravity. I had not 
thought at the time that the two nations were actually at 
war, and that already, both before the war and during 
it, deeds of desperate treachery had been done, the 
memory of which were not even obliterated by the valour 
and chivalry which had been shown by the nobler of 
America's foes. " Remember The Maine " was still a 
watchword and war cry. There were many scoundrels, 
such as chiefly come to the surface in war time, who 
would undertake any work, however deadly, however 
brutal, however dangerous. Such villains might be at 
work even now! With a bound I was out upon the 
floor. In that moment of concrete thought of danger to 
Marjory I realised to the full the danger of my own 
ignorance of her situation, and even of the locality where 
she might be. This impotence to do anything was simply 
maddening ; when I felt it I could not but understand the 


160 The Mystery of the Sea 

annoyance of Adams in feeling a measure of the same 
impotence, with what looked like my obstinacy added. 
But think how I would, I could do nothing till I should 
see Marjory or hear from her. With this thought, which, 
under the circumstances, was more than harrowing, I 
went back to bed. 

1 was waked by the knocking of Adams who in reply 
to my " Come," slipped in and shut the door behind 

" They are gone ! " 

" Who? " I asked mechanically, though I well knew. 

" Miss Drake and her friend. They went away last 
night, just after you came back from the station. By the 
way, I thought you dined with them ? " he said interroga- 
tively, and with a dash of suspicion in his tone. 

" I was to dine with them ; " I answered " but they 
were not there." He made a long pause. 

" I don't understand ! " he said. I felt that as the time 
which I was to cover had passed, I might speak; for 
all sakes I wanted to avoid collision with Adams or the 
appearance of deceiving him. So I said: 

" I can tell you now, Sam. I was asked to dine last 
night with Mrs. Jack and Miss Anita Miss Drake. 
When I came down to the room I found a letter saying 
that they had to go away and making a special request 
that I would dine alone, just as though they were there. 
I was not to say a word to any one about their being 
away. Please understand, my dear fellow and I must 
ask you to take it that this is only a hint which you must 
accept and not attempt to follow up that there are 
reasons why I should act on any request of Miss Drake's, 
'blindfold. I told you last night that my hands were 
tied; this was one of the cords. To-day I hold myself 
free to explain I may now also tell you more. Last 
night I could do nothing. I could take no step myself, 

Fireworks and Joan of Arc 161 

nor could I help you to take one; simply for the reason 
that I do not know where Miss Drake is staying. She 
is I know stopping, or was till lately, somewhere on 
the eastern side of Aberdeen County; but where the 
place is I have not the faintest idea. I expect to know 
very shortly; and the moment I know I will try to in- 
form you, unless I am forbidden. You will know in 
time that 1 have spoken exact truth ; though you may 
have found my words or meaning hard to understand. I 
am more than anxious to put Marjory on guard. When 
you left me last night, the whole deadly seriousness of 
the matter grew on me, till I was as miserable as a man 
can be." His face lightened as I spoke. 

" Well," he said " at least we are one in the matter ; 
that is something. I feared you were, and would be, 
working against me. Now look here, I have been think- 
ing the matter over, and I daresay I have come nearer 
to understanding your position than you imagine. I 
don't want to limit or hamper you in working in your 
own way for Miss Drake's good ; but I may tell you this. 
I mean to find her if I can, and in my own way. 1 am not 
fettered anywhere, except by the necessary secrecy. Out- 
side of this I am free to act. I shall keep you advised at 

Before I was dressed I had another visitor. This 
time it was Cathcart who, with considerable diffidence 
and all the shamefaced embarrassment of an Englishman 
when doing a kindly action in which he may be taken 
as intruding, offered me his services. I tried to set 
him at ease by the heartiness of my thanks. Upon which 
he expanded enough to say: 

" From something Adams let drop in all confidence 
believe me I gather you are or may be in trouble about 
some friend. If this should be, and from my heart I 

trust it may not, I hope you will bear in mind that I am 


1 62 The Mystery of the Sea 

a friend, and unattached. I am pretty well alone in the 
world so far as family is concerned, and there is no one 
to interfere with me. Indeed there are some who would 
be happy, for testamentary reasons, to attend my funeral. 
I hope you will remember this, old chap, if there is any 
fun going." Then he went away, easy of carriage and 
debonnair as usual. It was in such wise that this gallant 
gentleman made me a proffer of his life. It moved me 
more than I can tell. 

I went down to Cruden by the next train, and arranged 
with the postmaster to send on to me at once by messen- 
ger or wire any telegram that might come directed as 
I had told Adams. 

Towards dusk a letter was brought to me. It was 
in Marjory's hand, and on my asking at once how it 
had come, I was told that it was brought by a mounted 
man who on handing it in had said " no answer " and had 
ridden away. 

With hope and joy and misgiving mingled I opened it. 
All these feelings were justified by the few words it 
contained : 

" Meet me to-morrow at eleven at Pircappies." 

I passed the night with what patience I could, and rose 
early. At ten I took a light boat and rowed by myself 
from Port Erroll across the bay. I hung round out- 
side the Skares, ostensibly fishing but keeping watch for 
any sign of Marjory ; for from this point I could see the 
road to Whinnyfold and the path by the beach. A 
little before eleven I saw a woman wheeling a bicycle 
down the Whinnyfold laneway. Taking in my lines, 
I pulled, quietly and avoiding any appearance of hurry, 
for I knew not whether any one might see us, into the tiny 
harbour behind the jutting rock. Marjory arrived just 
at the same time, and I rejoiced to see that her face bore 
no mark or sign of care. As yet nothing had happened. 

Fireworks and Joan of Arc 163 

We met with a slight hand shake; but there was a look 
in her eyes which made my heart leap. For the past 
thirty-six hours my anxiety for her had put aside every 
other feeling. I had not thought of myself, and there- 
fore not of my love for her; but now my selfish instinct 
woke again in full force. In her presence, and in the 
jubilance of my own heart, fear in all forms seemed 
as impossible to realise as that the burning sun above 
us should be blotted out with falling snow. With one 
of her mysterious signs of silence she pointed to the 
rock that here stretches out into the sea, and whose top 
is crowned with long sea grass. Together we climbed the 
face of the cliff, and bearing across the narrow promon- 
tory passed over the top of the rock. We found a cosy 
nest hidden behind it. Here we were absolutely isolated 
from the world; out of earshot of every one, and out of 
sight except from beyond the stretch of rocky sea. In 
a demure way she acknowledged my satisfaction. 

" Isn't it a nice place. I chose it out yesterday when 
I was here ! " For an instant I felt as though she had 
struck me. Just to think that she had been here yes- 
terday, whilst I was waiting for her only across the bay, 
eating my heart out. However, there was no use looking 
back. She was with me now, and we were alone. The 
whole delight of the thing swept away every other feel- 
ing. With a pretty little motion of settling herself com- 
fortably, and which to me seemed to prelude a long talk, 
she began: 

" I suppose you know a lot .about me now ? " 

" How do you mean ? " 

" Come now, don't prevaricate. I saw Sam Adams in 
Aberdeen, and of course he told you all about me." I 
interrupted : 

" No he didn't." The very tone of my voice enlight- 
ened her. With a smile she said : 

164 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Then some one else did. Answer me some ques- 
tions. What is my name?" 

" Marjory Anita Drake." 

"Am I poor?" 

" In the way of money, no." 

"Right! Why did I leave America?" 

" To run away from the fireworks and the Joan of 
Arc business." 

" Right again ; but that sounds mighty like Sam Adams. 
Well, that's all right; now we may begin. I want to 
tell you something which you don't know." She paused. 
Half in delight and half in fear, for her appearance of 
purpose alarmed me, I set myself to listen. 


WITH a smile Marjory began: 
" You are satisfied that it was because of 
the fireworks and Joan of Arc business that 
I came away ? " 

"Oh yes!" 

" And that this was the final and determining cause? " 

"Why certainly!" 

" Then you are wrong ! " I looked at her in wonder 
and in some secret concern. If I were wrong in this 
belief, then why not in others ? If Adams's belief and my 
acceptance of it were erroneous, what new mystery was 
there to be revealed? Just at present things had been 
looking so well for the accomplishment of my wishes that 
any disturbance must be unwelcome. Marjory, watching 
me from under her eyelashes, had by this time summed 
me up. The stern look which she always had when her 
brows were fixed in thought, melted into a smile which 
was partly happy, partly mischievous, and wholly girlish. 

" Make your mind easy, Archie " she said, and oh I how 
my heart leaped when she addressed me by my Christian 
name for the first time. " There isn't anything to get 
uneasy about. I'll tell you what it was if you wish." 

" Certainly I wish, if __ ou don't dislike telling me." 
So she went on : 

" I did not mind the fireworks ; that is I did mind 
them and liked them too. Between you and me, there has 


1 66 The Mystery of the Sea 

to be a lot of fireworks for one to object to them. People 
may say what they please, but it's only those who have 
not tasted popular favour that say they don't like it. 
I don't know how Joan of Arc felt, but I've a pretty cute 
idea that she was like other girls. If she enjoyed being 
cheered and made much of as well as I did, no wonder 
that she kept up the game as long as she could. What 
broke me all up was the proposals of marriage! It's 
all very well getting proposed to by people you know, 
and that you don't dislike. But when you get a washing 
basket full of proposals every morning by the post ; when 
seedy looking scallywags ogle you; when smug young 
men with soft hats and no chins wait outside your door 
to hand you their own poems; and when greasy cranks 
stop your carriage to proffer their hearts to you before 
your servants, it becomes too much. Of course you can 
burn the letters, though there are some of them too good 
and too honest not to treat their writers with respect. But 
the cranks and egotists, and scallywags and publicans 
and sinners, the loafers that float round one like an 
unwholesome miasma; these are too many and too 
various, and too awful to cope with. I felt the convic- 
tion so driven in to me that the girl, or at any rate 
her personality, counts for so little, but that her money, 
or her notoriety, or celebrity or whatever it is, counts 
for so much, that I couldn't bear to meet strangers at 
all. Burglars and ghosts and tigers and snakes and all 
kinds of things that dart out on you are bad enough; 
but I tell you that proposers on the pounce are a holy 
terror. Why, at last I began to distrust everyone. There 
wasn't an unmarried man of my acquaintance that I didn't 
begin to suspect of some design; and then the funny 
part of it was that if they didn't come up to the scratch 
I felt aggrieved. It was awfully unfair wasn't it ? But I 
could not help it. I wonder if there is a sort of moral 

On Changing One's Name 167 

jaundice which makes one see colours all wrong! If 
there is, I had it; and so I just came away to get cured 
if I could. 

" You can't imagine the freedom which it was to me 
not to be made much of and run after. Of course there 
was a disappointing side to it ; I'm afraid people's heads 
swell very quick! But, all told, it was delightful. Mrs. 
Jack had come with me, and I had covered up my tracks 
at home so that no one would be worried. We ran up to 
Canada, and at Montreal took a steamer to Liverpool. 
We got out, however, at Moville. We had given false 
names, so that we couldn't be tracked." Here she 
stopped; and a shy look grew over her face. I waited, 
for I thought it would embarrass her less to tell things 
in her own way than to be asked questions. The shy 
look grew into a rosy blush, through which came that 
divine truth which now and again can shine from a girl's 
eyes. She said in quite a different way from any in which 
she had spoken to me as yet; with a gentle appealing 
gravity : 

" That was why I let you keep the wrong impression 
as to my name. 1 couldn't bear that you, who had been 
so good to me, should, at the very start of our our 
friendship, find me out in a piece of falsity. And then 
when we knew each other better, and after you had 
treated me with so much confidence about the Second 
Sight and Gormala and the Treasure, it made me feel 
so guilty every time I thought of it that I was ashamed 
to speak." She stopped and I ventured to take her hand. 
I said in as consolatory a way as I could : 

" But my dear, that was not any deceit to me at any 
rate. You took another name to avoid trouble before 
ever I even saw you; how then could I be aggrieved. 
Besides " I added, feeling bolder as she did not make 
any effort to draw away her hand, " I should be the last 

1 68 The Mystery of the Sea 

person in the world to object to your changing your 
name ! " 

" Why ? " she asked raising her eyes to mine with a 
glance which shot through me. This was pure coquetry ; 
she knew just as well as I did what I meant. All the 
same, however, 1 said: 

" Because I too want you to change it ! " She did 
not say a word, but looked down. 

I was now sure of my ground, and without a word I 
bent over and kissed her. She did not draw back. Her 
arms went round me; and in an instant I had a glimpse 
of heaven. 

Presently she put me away gently and said: 

" There was another reason why I did not speak all 
that time. I can tell it to you now." 

"' Pardon me " I interrupted " but before you tell me, 
am I to take it that well, what has just been between 
us is an affirmative answer to my question? " Her teeth 
flashed as well as her eyes as she answered: 

" Have you any doubt ? Was there any imperfection in 
the answer? If so, perhaps we had better read it as 
' no.' " 

My answer was not verbal; but it was satisfactory to 
me. Then she went on : 

" I can surely tell you now at all events. Have you 
still doubts ? " 

" Yes " said I, " many, very many, hundreds, thousands, 
millions, all of which are clamouring for instant satis- 
faction ! " She said quietly and very demurely, at the 
same time raising that warning hand which I already 
well knew, and which I could not but feel was apt to have 
an influence on my life, though I had no doubt but that 
it would always be for good : 

" Then as there are so many, there is not the slightest 
use trying to deal with them now." 

On Changing One's Name 169 

" All right " I said " we shall take them in proper sea- 
son and deal with them seriatim." She said nothing, 
but she looked happy. 

I felt so happy myself that the very air round us, and 
the sunshine, and the sea, seemed full of joyous song. 
There was music even in the screaming of the myriad 
seagulls sweeping overhead, and in the wash of the rising 
and falling waves at our feet. I kept my eyes on Mar- 
jory as she went on to speak: 

" Oh, it is a delight to be able to tell you now what 
a pleasure it was to me to know that you, who knew 
nothing of me, of my money, or my ship, or all the fire- 
works and Joan of Arc business I shall never forget that 
phrase had come to me for myself alone. It was a 
pleasure which I could not help prolonging. Even had I 
had no awkwardness in telling my name, I should have 
kept it back if possible; so that, till we had made our 
inner feelings known to each other, I should have been 
able to revel in this assurance of personal attraction ; " 
1 was so happy that I felt I could interrupt : 

" That sounds an awfully stilted way of putting it, is 
it not ? " I said. " May I take it that what you mean 
is, that though you loved me a little of course after I 
had shown you that I loved you a great deal you still 
wished to keep me on a string; so that my ignorance of 
your extrinsic qualities might add a flavour to your en- 
joyment of my personal devotion ? " 

" You talk " she said with a joyful smile " like a small 
book with gilt edges ! And now, I know you want to 
know more of my surroundings, where we are living and 
what are our plans." 

Her words brought a sort of cold shiver to me. In my 
great happiness I had forgotten for the time all anxiety 
for her safety. In a rush there swept over me all the 
matters which had caused me such anguish of mind for 

170 The Mystery of the Sea 

the last day and a half. She saw the change in me, and 
with poetic feeling put in picturesque form her evident 
concern : 

" Archie, what troubles you ? your face is like a cloud 
passing over a cornfield ! " 

" I am anxious about you " I said. " In the perfection 
of happiness which you have given me, I forgot for the 
moment some things that are troubling me." With in- 
finite gentleness, and with that sweet tenderness which is 
the sympathetic facet of love, she laid her hand on mine 
and said: 

" Tell me what troubles you. I have a right to know 
now, have I not?" For answer I raised her hand and 
kissed it ; then holding it in mine I went on : 

" At the same time that I learned about you, I heard 
of some other things which have caused me much 
anxiety. You will help to put me at ease, won't you?" 

" Anything you like I shall do. I am all yours now ! " 

" Thank you, my darling, thank you ! " was all I could 
say; her sweet surrender of herself overwhelmed me. 
" But I shall tell you later ; in the meantime tell me all 
about yourself, for that is a part of what I wait for." So 
she spoke: 

" We are living, Mrs. Jack and I, in an old Castle some 
miles back in the country from here. First I must tell 
you that Mrs. Jack is my old nurse. Her husband had 
been a workman of my father's in his pioneer days. When 
Dad made his own pile he took care of Jack Jack Demp- 
sey his name was, but we never called him anything but 
Jack. His wife was Mrs. Jack then, and has been so ever 
since to me. When mother died, Mrs. Jack, who had lost 
her husband a little while before, came to take care of 
me. Then when father died she took care of everything ; 
and has been like a mother to me ever since. As I dare 
say you have noticed, she has never got over the deferen- 

On Changing One's Name 171 

tial manner which she used to have in her poorer days. 
But Mrs. Jack is a rich woman as women go; if some of 
my proposers had an idea of how much money she has 
they would never let her alone till she married some 
one. I think she got a little frightened at the way I 
was treated; and there was a secret conviction that she 
might be the next to suffer. If it hadn't been for that, 
I doubt if she would ever, even to please me, have fallen 
in with my mad scheme of running away under false 
names. When we came to London we saw the people 
at Morgan's ; and the gentleman who had charge of our 
affairs undertook to keep silence as to us. He was a 
nice old man, and I told him enough of the state of 
affairs for him to understand that I had a good reason 
for lying dark. I thought that Scotland might be a good 
place to hide in for a time; so we looked about amongst 
the land agents for a house where we would not be likely 
to be found. They offered us a lot; but at last they 
told us of one between Ellon and Peterhead, way back 
from the road. We found it in a dip between a lot of 
hills where you would never suspect there was a house 
at all, especially as it was closely surrounded with a 
wood. It is in reality an old castle, built about two or 
three hundred years ago. The people who own it 
Barnard by name, are away, the agent told us, and the 
place was to let year after year but no one has ever taken 
it. He didn't seem to know much about the owners as 
he had only seen their solicitor; but he said they might 
come some time and ask to visit the house. It is an inter- 
esting old place, but awfully gloomy. There are steel 
trellis gates, and great oak doors bound with steel, that 
rumble like thunder when you shut them. There are 
vaulted roofs ; and windows in the thickness of the wall, 
which though they are big enough to sit in, are only slits 
at the outside. Oh ! it is a perfect daisy of an old house. 

172 The Mystery of the Sea 

You must come and see it! I will take you all over it; 
that is, over all I can, for there are some parts of it shut 
off and locked up." 

" When may I go? " I asked. 

" Well, I had thought," she answered, " that it would 
be very nice if you were to get your wheel and ride over 
with me to-day." 

" Count me in every time ! By the way what is the 
name of the place?" 

" Crom Castle. Crom is the name of the little village, 
but it is a couple of miles away." I paused a while think- 
ing before I spoke. Then with my mind made up I 

" Before we leave here I want to speak of something 
which, however unimportant you may think it, makes me 
anxious. You will let me at the beginning beg, won't you, 
that you do not ask me who my informant is, or not to 
tell you anything except what I think advisable." Her 
face grew grave as she said : 

" You frighten me ! But Archie, dear, I trust you. I 
trust you; and you may speak plainly. I shall under- 



6 4 T WANT you to promise me that you will not hide 
yourself where I cannot find you. I have grave 
reason for the request. Also, I want you, if 
you will, to let some others know where you are." At first 
there was instinctive defiance in her mouth and nostrils. 
Then her brows wrinkled in thought ; the sequence was an 
index to character which I could not but notice. How- 
ever the war was not long ; reason, whatever was the out- 
come of its dominance, triumphed over impulse. I 
thought I could understand the logical process which led 
to her spoken conclusion: 

" You want to report me to ' Uncle Sam V 
" That's about it ! " I answered, and hurried on to give 
her a reason before she made up her mind to object. 

" Remember, my dear, that your nation is at war ; and, 
though you are at present safe in a country friendly to 
both belligerents, there are evil-minded people in all coun- 
tries who will take advantage of anything unusual, to 
work their own ends. That splendid gift of yours to the 
nation, while it has made you a public favourite and won 
for you millions of friends and proposals has yet made 
for you a host of enemies. It is not as if you had given a 
hospital-ship or an ambulance. Your gift belongs to 
the war side and calls out active hatred; and no doubt 
there are men banded together to do you harm. This 
cannot be allowed. Your friends, and the nation as a 


174 The Mystery of the Sea 

whole, would take any step to prevent such a thing; but 
they might all be powerless if you were hidden anywhere 
where they could not find you." As 1 spoke, Marjory 
looked at me keenly, not with hostility, but with genuine 
interest. When I had finished she said quietly : 

" That is very well ; but now tell me, dear " how the 
word thrilled me ; it was the first time she had used it to 
me " did Sam Adams fill you up with that argument, or is 
it your own ? Don't think me nasty ; but I want to know 
something of what is going on. Believe me, I am willing 
to do all you wish if it is your own will; and I am 
grateful for your thought for me. But I don't want you 
to be a mere mouthpiece for any party moves by the poli- 
ticians at home." 

" How do you mean?" 

" My dear boy, I don't suppose you know enough of 
American politics to see how a certain lot would use to 
their own advantage anything that came in their way. 
Anybody or anything which the public takes an interest 
in would be, and is, used by them unscrupulously. Why, 
if the hangers-on to the war party wanted to make a show, 
they might enroll my proposers and start a new battalion." 

" But," I remonstrated, " you don't think the Govern- 
ment is like that? " In reply she smiled: 

" I don't altogether know about that. Parties are par- 
ties all the world over. But of course the Washington 
people wouldn't do things that are done by local poli- 
ticians. And one other thing. Don't imagine for a mo- 
ment that I think Sam Adams is anything of the kind. 
He belongs to the service of the nation and takes his 
orders from his chief. How can he, or any one fixed like 
him, know the ins and outs of things; except from what 
he hears privately from home, or gathers from what goes 
on around him if he is cute ? " It appeared to me that all 
this was tending to establish an argument against taking 

Comradeship 175 

the American Embassy into confidence, so I struck in 
before it should be complete. As I was not at liberty to 
take Marjory into confidence with regard to my source 
of information, I had to try to get her to agree to what I 
thought right or necessary on other grounds : 

" My dearest, can you not leave out politics, American 
or otherwise. What on earth have politics to do with 
us ? " She opened her eyes in wonder ; she was reason- 
ing better than I was. With an air of conviction she 

" Why, everything ! If any one wants to do me harm, 
it must be on the grounds of politics. I don't believe 
there is any one in the world who could want to injure 
me on private grounds. Oh! my dear, I don't want to 
talk about it, not even to you ; but all my life I have tried 
to help other people in a quiet way. My guardians would 
tell you that I have asked them for too much money to 
give to charities ; and personally I have tried to do what 
a. girl can in a helpful way to others. I have been in hos- 
pitals and homes of all kinds ; and I have classes of girls 
in my own house and try to make them happier and better. 
Archie, don't think poorly of me for speaking like this ; 
but I couldn't bear that you should think I had no sense 
of the responsibility of great wealth. I have always 
looked on it as a trust ; and I hope, my dear, that in time 
to come you will help me to bear the burden and to share 
the trust ! " I had thought up to now that I couldn't love 
her more than I did. But when I heard her words, and 
recognised the high purpose that lay behind them, and 
saw the sweet embarrassment which came to her in speak- 
ing them to me, I felt that I had been mistaken. She 
looked at me lovingly, and, holding my hand in both of 
hers, went on : 

" What then could hurt me except it came from the 
political side. I could quite understand it if Spaniards 

176 The Mystery of the Sea 

wished to harm me, for I have done what I can to hinder 
them from murdering and torturing other victims. And 
I could understand if some of our own low-down poli- 
ticians would try to use me as a stalking horse, though 
they wouldn't harm me. I want to keep clear of politics ; 
and I tell you frankly that I shall if I can." 

" But Marjory dear, there may be, I believe there 
are, Spaniards who would try to harm you. If you were 
in America you would be safer from them; for there at 
present, whilst the war is on, every stranger is a marked 
man. Here, on neutral ground, foreigners are free; and 
they are not watched and observed in the same way. If 
there were such fiends, and I am told there are, they 
might do you a harm before any one could know their 
intention or have time to forestall them." 

All the native independence of Marjory's race and 
nature stood out in strong relief as she answered me: 

" My dear Archie, I come from a race of men who 
have held their lives in their hands from the cradle to the 
grave. My father, and my grandfather, and my great 
grandfather were pioneers in Illinois, in Kentucky, in the 
Rockies and California. They knew that there were 
treacherous foes behind them every hour of their lives; 
and yet they were not afraid. And I am not afraid either. 
Their blood is in my veins, and speaks loudly to me when 
any sense of fear comes near me. Their brains, as well as 
their hands, kept guard on their lives ; and my brains are 
like theirs. I do not fear any foe, open or secret. Indeed, 
when I think of a secret foe all the keenness of my people 
wakes in me, and I want to fight. And this secret work 
is a way in which a woman can fight in an age like ours. 
If my enemies plot, I can counter-plot; if they watch 
without faltering to catch me off guard, I can keep guard 
unflinchingly. A woman can't go out now-a-days, except 
at odd times, and fight with weapons like Joan of Arc, or 

Comradeship 177 

the Maid of Saragossa ; but she can do her fighting in her 
own way, level with her time. I don't see that if there is 
to be danger around me, why I shouldn't do as my ances- 
tors did, fight harder than their foes. Here! let me tell 
you something now, that I intended to say later. Do you 
know what race of men I come from ? Does my name tell 
you nothing? If not, then this will ! " 

She took from her neck, where again it had been con- 
cealed by a lace collar, the golden jewel which I had res- 
cued from the sea. As I took it in my hand and examined 
it she went on: 

" That came to me from my father, who got it from his, 
and he from his, on and on till our story of it, which is 
only verbal, for we have no records, is lost in the legend 
that it is a relic of the Armada brought to America by 
two cousins who had married, both being of the family 
to which the great Sir Francis Drake belonged. I didn't 
know, till lately, and none of us ever did, where exactly 
in the family the last owners of the brooch came in, or 
how they became possessed of such a beautiful jewel. 
But you have told me in your translation of Don de Esco- 
ban's narrative. That was the jewel that Benvenuto 
Cellini made in duplicate when he wrought the figurehead 
for the Pope's galley. The Pope gave it to Bernardino de 
Escoban, and he gave it to Admiral Pedro de Valdes. 1 
have been looking up the history of the time since I saw 
you, and I found that Admiral de Valdes when he was 
taken prisoner by Sir Francis Drake at the fight with the 
Armada was kept, pending his ransom, in the house of 
Richard Drake, kinsman of Sir Francis. How the Drake 
family got possession of the brooch I don't know; but 
anyhow I don't suppose they stole it. They were a kindly 
lot in private, any of them that I ever knew; though 
when they were in a fight they fought like demons. The 
old Spanish Dons were generous and free with their pres- 


178 The Mystery ot the Sea 

ents, and I take it that when Pedro de Valdes got his 
ransom he made the finest gift he could to those who 
had been kind to him. That is the way I figure it out." 

Whilst she was speaking, thoughts kept crowding in 
upon me. Here was indeed the missing link in the chain of 
Marjory's connection with the hidden treasure; and here 
was the beginning of the end of Gormala's prophecy, for 
as such I had come to regard it. The Fates were at work 
upon us. Clotho was spinning the thread which was to 
enmesh Marjory and myself and all who were in the 
scheme of the old prophecy of the Mystery of the Sea 
and its working out. 

Once more the sense of impotence grew upon me. We 
were all as shuttlecocks, buffeted to and fro without power 
to alter our course. With the thought came that measure 
of resignation which is the anodyne to despair. In a 
sort of trance of passivity I heard Marjory's voice run on : 

" Therefore, my dear Archie, I will trust to you to 
help me. The comradeship which has been between us, 
will never through this grow less; though nearer and 
dearer and closer ties may seem to overshadow it." 

I could not answer such reasoning; but I took her in 
my arms and kissed her. I understood, as she did, that 
my kisses meant acquiescence in her wishes. After a 
while I said to her : 

" One thing I must do. I owe it as a duty of honour 
to tell my informant that I am unable to give your address 
to the American Embassy, and that I cannot myself take 
a part in anything which is to be done except by your 
consent. But oh! my dear, I fear we are entering on a 
dangerous course. We are all staying deliberately in the 
dark, whilst there is light to be had ; and we shall need all 
the light which we can get." Then a thought struck me 
and I added, " By the way, I suppose I am free to give 
information how I can, so long as you are not committed 

Comradeship 179 

or compromised ? " She thought for quite a few minutes 
before she an^vered. 1 could see that she was weighing 
up the situa^n, and considering it from all points of 
view. Then she said, putting both her hands in mine : 

" In this, as in all ways, Archie, I know that I can 
trust you. There is so much more than even this between 
us, that I should feel mean to give it a thought here- 
after 1" 


PRESENTLY Marjory jumped up and said: 
" Now you must get your wheel and come over 
to Crom. I am burning to show it to you ! " We 
crossed the little isthmus and climbed the rocks above 
the Reivie o' Pircappies. As we topped the steep path I 
almost fell back with the start I gave. 

There sat Gormala MacNiel, fixed and immovable as 
though she were of stone. She looked so unconcerned 
that I began to suspect her. At first she seemed not to 
notice us; but I could see that she was looking at us 
under her eyelashes. I was anxious to find out how long 
she had been there, so I said, mentioning her name in 
order that Marjory might know who she was: 

" Why, Gormala, what has become of you ? I thought 
you were off again to the Islands. We haven't seen you 
for a long time." She replied in her usual uncompromis- 
ing way: 

" I hae nae doot that ye thocht me far, gin ye did na 
see me. Aye! Aye! the time has been lang; but I could 
wait : I could wait ! " 

"What were you waiting for?" Marjory's voice 
seemed almost as that of a being from another world. It 
was so fresh, so true, so independent that it seemed at 
variance with Gormala and her whole existence. As a 
man beside two women, I felt more as a spectator than as 
a participant, and my first general impression was that the 
New World was speaking to the Old. Gormala seemed 


The Old Far West and the New 181 

to me absolutely flabbergasted. She stared, and looked in 
a dazed way at the girl, standing up as she did so with 
the instinctive habit, ingrained through centuries of cus- 
tom, of an inferior to a superior. Then she moved her 
hand across her forehead, as though to clear her brain, 
before she replied: 

" What was I waitin' for ? I'll tell ye, an ye will. I 
was waitin' for the fulfillment o' the Doom. The Voices 
hae spoken; and what they hae said, will be. There be 
them that would stand in the way o' Fate, and would try 
to hinder the comin' that must be. But they will fail ; they 
will fail ! They can no more block the river o' time wi' 
ony deeds o' mon, than they can dam the spate wi' a 
bairn's playtoy." Again came Marjory's searching ques- 
tion, with all the mystery-dispelling freshness of her 
unfettered youth ; and indeed it seemed as if the Old- 
world mystery could not hold its dignity in the face of 
overt, direct questioning : 

" By the way, what was it that the Doom said ? Was it 
anything that an American girl can understand ? " Gor- 
mala gazed at her in manifest wonder. To her, reared 
in the atmosphere of the Old Far West, this product of 
the New Far West seemed like a being of another world. 
Had Marjory been less sweet in her manner than she was, 
or less fair to look upon, less dignified, or less grave, the 
old woman would probably have shown hostility at once. 
But it seemed to me impossible that even a witch-woman 
could be hostile to Marjory to-day. She looked so sweet, 
and kind and happy; so bright and joyous; so much like 
the incarnation of ideal girlhood, that criticism was dis- 
armed, and hostility could not force a way into the 
charmed circle of that radiant presence. To me, her atti- 
tude towards Gormala was incomprehensible. She knew 
Gormala, for I had told her of who and what the Seer was, 
and of the prophecies and warnings that she had already 

1 82 The Mystery of the Sea 

uttered ; and yet from her manner she appeared ignorant of 
all concerning both her and them. She was not concilia- 
tory after the manner of the young who wish to please the 
old, or to ingratiate themselves with them. She was 
not hostile, as would be one who had determined on oppo- 
sition. About her or her manner there was nothing hard, 
or frivolous or contradictory. And yet it was apparent 
to me that she had some fixed, determined purpose of her 
own ; and it became before long apparent to me also, that 
the other woman knew, or at any rate suspected, such an 
existence, though she could neither comprehend nor locate 
it. Gormala seemed once, twice, as though she were 
about to speak, but hesitated; at last with an effort she 
spoke out: 

" The Voice o' the Doom no sounds in words such as 
mortals can hear. It is spoken in sounds that are heard 
of the inner ear. What matter the words, when the ear 
that hearkens can understan' ! " 

" But," said Marjory, " could I not be told the words, 
or if there were no actual words, could you not give me 
in your own words what the sounds uttered seemed to you 
to mean ? " To anyone but a Seer such a request would 
seem reasonable enough; but visionaries who have a re- 
ceptive power of their own, and who learn by means 
whose methods are unconscious to them, can hardly under- 
take to translate the dim, wide-stretching purpose of the 
powers of the Unknown into bald, narrow, human speech. 
Gormala's brows wrinkled up in thought ; then a scowl of 
disappointment swept over her face. In an angry tone 
she turned to me and said : 

" Wha be yon lassie that questions so blithely the truth 
o' the Voice that is kent by ye an' me? Why dinna ye 
tak her awa' before she mocks me, an' in me the Doom; 
an' I speak oot to her? " Marjory spoke up for herself. 

"Please do not think it a liberty to ask you; but I 

The Old Far West and the New 183 

should like so much to know exactly what was said. It is 
so easy for people to confuse ideas when words are 
loosely used. Don't you find it so?" I do not think 
Gormala MacNiel had any humour at all; if she had, I 
had certainly never seen any trace of it. Had it been 
there it would have surely saved her from anger; for 
there was something delicious in the way in which Mar- 
jory put her question, as though to one of her own kind 
and holding the same views as herself on general matters. 
Gormala did not like it. Though there was a blank in 
her mind as to the existence of humour, she must have 
felt conscious of the blank. She could not understand the 
other woman; and for a little while sought refuge in a 
silence composed of about equal parts of sulk and dignity. 
But Marjory was not content with silence; she pressed 
home her question in the most polite but most matter of 
fact way, till I could see the Witch-woman mentally 
writhe. I should have interfered, for I did not want any 
unpleasant scene in which Marjory must have a part ; but 
I felt that the girl had some purposeful meaning in her 
persistence. Had Gormala had a pause in the attack she 
would, 1 felt, have gone away and bided her time : but in 
such a pushing of the matter as Marjory braced herself 
to, there could be no withdrawal, unless under defeat. 
Gormala looked round now and again, as one, man or 
animal, does when hunted; but each time she restrained 
herself by an effort. At last her temper began to rise ; her 
face flushed, and the veins of passion stood out on her 
forehead. Her eyes flashed, and white marks began to 
come and go about the face, especially round the nose. 
I could see from the leap of fire in Marjory's eyes that 
this was what she was waiting for. She lowered her 
voice, and the tone of her speaking, till both matter and 
manner were icily chill ; but all the time she persisted in 
her matter-of-fact questioning. 

1 84 The Mystery of the Sea 

t At last Gormala's temper broke, and she turned on the 
girl in such a fury that for a few seconds I thought she 
was going to attack her physically. I stood ready to 
hold her off if necessary. At the first moment the passion 
in her was so great that she spoke in Gaelic; blind, white- 
hot fury will not allow a choice of tongues. The savage 
in her was speaking, and it spoke in the tongue it knew 
best. Of course neither of us could understand it, and we 
only stood smiling. Marjory smiled deliberately as 
though to exasperate her; I smiled because Marjory was 
smiling. Presently, through the tumult of her passion, 
Gormala began to realise that we did not understand her ; 
and, with an effort which shook her, began to speak in 
English. With the English which she had, came inten- 
tion and the restraint which it implies. Her phrases were 
not common curses, but rather a picturesque half prophecy 
with a basis of hate. The gravamen of her charge was that 
Marjory had scoffed against the Doom and Fate and the 
Voices. To me, who had suffered the knowledge to which 
she appealed, the attack was painful. What was charged 
was a sort of natural sacrilege; and it wounded me and 
angered me to see Marjory made the subject of any 
attack. I was about to interfere, when with a gesture, 
which the Witch-woman did not see, she warned me to 
silence. She struck into the furious woman's harangue 
with quiet, incisive, cultured voice which made the other 
pause : 

" Indeed you do me a wrong ; I scoffed at nothing. I 
should not scoff at your religion any more than I should 
at my own. I only asked you a few questions as to facts 
which seemed to touch a friend of mine." The point of 
this speech which, strange to say, affected the woman 
most was regarding her religion: 

" Wha be ye, ye hizzie, that wad daur to misca' me that 
is a Christian woman all my days. What be your re- 

The Old Far West and the New 185 

leegion, that ye try to shame me wi' mine." Marjory said 
deliberately, but with all the outward appearance of 
courtesy : 

" But I did not know that in the scheme of the Chris- 
tian belief there were such things as the Doom and the 
Voice and Fate ! " The old woman towered up ; for a 
moment she was all Seer and Prophet. Her words thrilled 
through me; and 1 could see through Marjory also. 
Though she held herself proudly, her lips grew pale: 

" Then learn while ye may that there be lesser powers 
as well as greater in the scheme o' God's warld, and o' His 
working o' the wonders therein. Ye may scoff at me 
wha' am after all but an aud wife; though one to whom 
are Visions given, and in whose ears the Voice has spoken. 
Ye may pride yersel' that yer ignorance is mair than the 
knowledge o' ithers. Ye may doot the truths that hae 
been garnered oot o' centuries o' dour experience, an' tak' 
the cloak o' yer ignorance as an answer to a' the mysteries 
that be. But mark me weel ! the day will come it is no 
far aff the noo when ye will wring yer honds, and pray 
wi' all the power an' bitter grief o' yer soul for some licht 
to guide ye that ye no hae had yet ! " She paused and 
stood in a sort of trance, stiffening all over like a pointer 
at mark. Then she raised one hand high over her head, 
so* that the long arm seemed to extend her gaunt form to 
an indefinite length. With a far-away solemn voice she 

" I see ye too, though no by yer lanes, in the wild tide- 
race amang the rocks in the dark nicht, mid leaping waves. 
An' lo ! o'er the waste o' foam is a floatin' shrood ! " Then 
she stopped, and in a few seconds came back to herself. 
In the meantime Marjory, whose lips had grown white as 
death, though she never lost her proud bearing, groped 
blindly for my hand and held it hard. She never for a 
moment took her eyes off the other. ' 

1 86 The Mystery of the Sea 

When Gormala was quite her own woman again, she 
turned without a word and walked away in her gaunt, 
stately manner, feeling I am sure, as we did, that she did 
not go without the honours of war. Marjory continued 
to watch her until she had passed up the track, and had 
disappeared behind the curve of the hill. 

Then, all at once, she seemed to collapse in a faint ; and 
had I not held her hand, and so was able to draw her 
into my arms, she must have fallen to the ground. 

In a wonderfully short time she recovered her senses, 
and then with a great effort stood up; though she still 
had to steady herself by my hand. When she was all 
right again she said to me : 

" I suppose you wonder why I attacked her like that. 
Oh! yes, I did attack her; I meant to," for she saw the 
question in my eyes. " It was because she was so hostile 
to you. What right had she to force you to do any- 
thing? She is harmful to you, Archie. I know it! I 
know it ! I know it ! and I determined not to let her have 
her way. And besides," this with a shy loving look at 
me, " as she is hostile to you she must be to me also. I 
want to be with you, even in the range of the hate and the 
love of others. That is to be one ; and as we are to fight 
together I must share your lot in all ! " I took her in my 
arms, and for some divine moments, our hearts beat to- 

In those moments my mind was made up as to the 
wishes of Adams. How could I refuse in any way to fight 
the battle, as she might wish it fought, of a girl who so 
loyally shared my lot! 

Then we arranged that I should go home for my 
bicycle, and meet Marjory at the bridge by the Parish 


WHEN I rejoined Marjory, we went up the high 
road and then turned off by a by-way which 
took us round innumerable slopes and mounds, 
so characteristic of this part of Aberdeen. The entire 
county, seen from high places, looks bare and open; 
but it has its hills and hollows in endless variety. From 
the cross road we turned up another and still another, till 
I lost my bearings entirely. 

The part of the country where we now were was a sort 
of desolation of cultivation; endless low hills clad with 
fields of wheat and barley with never a house to be 
seen, except some far off cottage or the homestead of a 
laird perched on the top of a hill. At last we entered 
through an open gateway with broken pillars, still bear- 
ing the remains of some armorial device in statuary. 
There was an avenue, fringed with tall trees on either 
side, and beyond a broad belt of undergrowth. The 
avenue wound round and round in an endless series of 
curves. From the gate where we entered was a thick, 
close wood nearly a quarter of a mile in width. Here the 
trees stood so close, and their locking branches made such 
a screen, that it was quite gloomy within. Here too the 
road was made in perpetual curves, so that it was not 
possible to see far ahead.. Indeed I remarked to- Marjory 
as we rode along: 

" No wonder you chose this as a place to hide in ; if 

1 88 The Mystery of the Sea 

looks as if it was made for concealment. It is a regular 
Rosamund's Bower ! " 

When we had passed through the wood, we came out on 
a great piece of level ground with a wide mound some 
twenty feet high, in the midst of it. On this was built of 
granite, a crenelated castle. It was not very high, but 
extended wide in a square, with a low arched doorway in 
front of us through which it might be possible to drive 
with care. The doorway was closed by two gates ; first a 
massive network of interlocking steel bars of seemingly 
foreign workmanship, and secondly great gates of oak 
fortified with steel bands and massive bosses of hammered 
iron. Before going in, Marjory took me right round the 
castle and I saw that it was the same on all four sides. 
It was built by the points of the compass ; but there was 
no gateway except on one side. The ordinary way of 
entering was by a more modern door on the south side. 
From inside the castle it was not possible to see anywhere 
beyond the wood. Even from the stone roof, made for 
defence, where Marjory took me, it was only possible to 
get a glimpse through the tree tops here and there of 
round-topped hills yellow with ripening grain or crowned 
with groves of scanty wind-swept pine trees. Altogether 
it was as gloomy a place as I had ever seen. It was cut 
off altogether from the outer world ; one might remain in 
it for a life-time unknown. 

Inside it was, if possible, more gloomy. Small rooms 
almost everywhere, except the great hall, and one room at 
the top facing the south side which lay just under the 
roof and which was lined with old oak. Here there were 
quite a number of windows such as Marjory had de- 
scribed, all of them, though wide on the inner side, nar- 
rowed to mere slits on the outer. In castles and houses 
built, like this, for defence, it did not do to allow opportu- 
nities to an attacking force to send missiles within. 

Crom Castle 189 

Mrs. Jack and Marjory had made this their living room, 
and here were all the pretty treasures and knick-knacks 
which they had gathered on their travels. The old lady 
welcomed me warmly. Then Marjory took her aside and 
told her something in whispers. I could guess what it 
was; but any doubts I might have had were dispelled 
when she came over and kissed me and said : 

" Indeed, I congratulate you with all my heart. You 
have won the best, and sweetest, and dearest girl that 
ever drew breath. I have been with her all my life ; and 
I have not found a flaw in her yet. And I am glad that 
it is you whom she has chosen. Somehow, I wisEed it 
from the first moment I saw you. That you may both be 
happy, I pray the good Lord God ! And 1 know you will ; 
for you are true, and Marjory has a heart of gold." 

" A heart of gold ! " Her words had given me more 
than pleasure; but the last phrase pulled my joy up short. 
A cold shiver ran through me. A golden man had been 
a part of the prophecy of the Mystery of the Sea; and 
only a little while ago Gormala had in her vision seen 
Marjory struggling in the tide-race with a shroud in the 

I think Marjory felt something of the same kind, for 
she looked at me anxiously and grew a little pale. She 
said nothing, however, and I thought it better to pass the 
matter by. Although Marjory had heard the expression 
of the Witch-woman's vision, and though I had told her 
of my first experience of the old rhyming prophecy, the 
former was at a time when neither I myself nor the whole 
mystery was of any special importance to her. She might 
not have remembered it ; I trusted that this was so. 

However, we could not either of us be sad for long 
t v o-day. Our joy was too fresh to be dimmed by any 
thought of gloom, except momentarily as a mirror is by a 
passing breath. 

190 The Mystery of the Sea 

Tea in the old oak room was a delight, with the after- 
noon sun coming in slantwise through the narrow win- 
dows and falling in lines of light across the floor. Mar- 
jory made the tea and served me; and each time I took 
anything from her hand our fingers met, she no more than 
myself avoiding the touch. Then, leaving the old lady 
upstairs, she took me through the various rooms ; and in 
her pretty, impulsive way she told me all the romances 
which she had already woven about them in her brain. 
She came and saw me off; with her kiss of good-bye on 
my lips I rode back through the gloomy wood, feeling as 
proud and valiant as a knight of old. 

I found my way to Ellon and went on the train to Aber- 
deen, for I felt it due to Adams that I should see him 
at once. It was impossible to write all I had to say ; and 
besides I wanted to retain his good will, and to arrange 
for securing his aid, if he would consent to do so under 
our altered conditions. 

I found him in his room hard at work. He was writing 
something which I suppose he considered important, for 
he put it carefully away and locked his despatch box be- 
fore we began to talk. Of course it might have been only 
his diplomatic habit ; but he seemed grave over it. I en- 
tered at once on the matter between us, for I thought to 
get the disagreeable side over first and let concessions and 
alterations follow: 

" I am sorry, Sam, I shall not be able to help you with 
information regarding Miss Drake." 

" Why ? Haven't you heard from her ? " 

" It is not that ; but I am not free to do what you wish." 
Adams looked at me for a long time. Then he said 
quietly : 

" I see. You have your orders ! Well, I am sorry for 
it; it may bring dreadful harm to her, and I daresay to 
you too, now. Say, old chap, is that decision of yours 

Crom Castle 191 

final? The matter is more grave than I thought when I 
saw you last. We have had more information, and they 
are pressing us from Washington to take all precautions 
we can. Come, won't you help me help her? " 

" I can't, the way you say. Sam Adams, you know I 
would do anything I could for you ; but in this matter I am 
pledged. I have been given a secret, and I must keep it 
honourably at all hazards. But look here, I am anxious 
all the same. Can't you trust me a little bit and tell me 
what to look for. I won't give you away ; and J may be 
able to carry out your wishes as to helping to guard 
her, though I have to do it in my own way." He smiled, 
though very bitterly and ironically. I was glad to see 
the smile anyhow, for we were old and tried friends and 
1 should not like there to be any break between us. Be- 
sides I wanted his help; his knowledge now, and his 
resources later on, if need should be. He was an official, 
and the matter was an official one though his heart was 
in it ; it was not as if his personal feelings or his honour 
had been involved. 

" Well," he said, " you have a fine gall anyhow ! You 
refuse point blank to give me the slightest help, though 
I ask it on all grounds, official for America, personal as I 
am in charge, and for the sake of your own girl; and 
then you expect me to tell you all I can. Well, look here, 
I'll tell you anything that will help you as soon as I 
know it, if you will keep me advised of exactly where 
you are so so that I may be able to find you if I 

I told him heartily that I would keep him posted as 
to my movements. Then, as there was nothing to re- 
main for, I said good-bye a good-bye, I am glad to say, 
given and taken with our old heartiness. Before I went 
I said: 

" Sam, you know how a message can find me if there 

192 The Mystery of the Sea 

is anything you should think it well to tell me." To 
which he replied: 

" All right, Archie, I'll remember. You understand 
that as I shall have to work this racket alone I must do 
it in my own way : otherwise we shall have complications. 
But if there is anything I can do on your side, I shall do 
it all the same. You know how to reach me. If you send 
for me I shall come any hour of the day or night. And 
say, old chap, I go heeled ! " he pointed to his pistol 
pocket. ." Let me advise you to do the same just at 
present ! " 

I took his advice and bought in Aberdeen, before re- 
turning to Cruden, two of the finest revolvers I could 
get. One of them was made for a lady ; the other I always 
carried myself from that day forward. 


NEXT morning after breakfast I wheeled over to 
Crom, bringing in my bicycle bag the revolver 
and ammunition for Marjory. I could not but 
feel alarmed for her safety as I rode through the wood 
which surrounded the house. It would need a regiment 
to guard one from a stray assassin. For myself I did 
not have any concern ; but the conviction grew and grew 
on me to the point of agony that harm which I should be 
powerless to prevent might happen here to Marjory. 
When I was inside the house the feeling was easier. 
Here, the place was to all intents and purposes fortified, 
for nothing short of cannon or dynamite could make any 
impression on it. 

Marjory received my present very graciously; I could 
see from the way that she handled the weapon that she 
had little to learn of its use. I suppose the thought must 
have crossed her that I might think it strange to find 
her so familiar with a lethal weapon, for she turned to 
me and said with that smoothness of tone which marks 
the end rather than the beginning of a speech : 

" Dad always wished me to know how to use a gun. I 
don't believe he was ever without one himself, even in his 
bed, from the time he was a small boy. He used to 
say ' It never does any one any harm to be ready to get 
the drop first, in case of a scrap ! ' I have a little beauty 
in my dressing-case that he got made for me. I am 
doubly armed now." 

193 13 

194 The Mystery of the Sea 

I stayed to lunch, but went away immediately after as 
I was anxious to find if Adams had sent me any message. 
Before going, I asked Marjory to be especially careful 
not to be out alone in the woods round the house, ior a 
few days at any rate. She demurred at first ; but finally 
agreed ' to please you ' as she put it not to go out at all 
till I had come again. 1 told her that as I was coming 
to breakfast the next morning if I might, it was not a very 
Jong time of imprisonment. 

When I asked for telegrams at the post-office, which 
was in the hotel, I was told that a gentleman was waiting 
to see me in the coffee room. I went in at once and found 
Sam Adams reading an old newspaper. He started up 
when he saw me and straightway began : 

" I hurried over to tell you that we have had further 
news. Nothing very definite to-day; but the Washing- 
ton people hope to have a lot of detail by to-morrow 
night. So be ready, old chap 1 " I thanked him, but 
even in the act of doing so it struck me that he had taken 
a deal of trouble to come over when he could have sent 
me a wire. I did not say so, however; doubts of an 
act of this kind can always wait. 

Sam had tea with me, and then we smoked a cigar out- 
side on the little terrace before the hotel. There were 
some fishermen and workmen, as usual sitting on or lean- 
ing against the wall across the road, and three men who 
were lounging about, evidently trippers waiting for their 
tea to be served. When we came out and had passed 
them, the little group went into the coffee room. They 
were, all three, keen-looking, alert men, and I had a pass- 
ing wonder what they were doing in Cruden as they had 
no golf bags with them. Sam did not remain long but 
caught the six-ten train back to Aberdeen. 

I cannot say that my night was an easy one. Whilst I 
lay awake I imagined new forms of danger to Marjory; 

Secret Service 

and when I fell asleep I dreamt them. I was up early, 
and after a sharp ride on my bicycle came to Crom in 
time for breakfast. 

As we had a long forenoon, Marjory took me over 
the house. It was all of some interest, as it represented 
the life and needs of life in the later days of Queen Eliza- 
beth in a part of the country where wars and feuds had 
to be prepared for. The Castle was arranged for siege, 
even to the water supply; there was a well of immense 
depth situated in a deep dungeon under the angle of the 
castle which they called the Keep. They did not, how- 
ever, ordinarily depend on this, as there was otherwise 
an excellent water supply. In the dungeon were chains 
and manacles and some implements of torture, all covered 
with the rust of centuries. We hoped that they had not 
been used. Marjory consoled herself with the thought 
that they had been placed there at the time of the build- 
ing as part of the necessary furnishing of a mediaeval 
castle. One room, the library, was of great interest. It 
had not been built for the purpose, for there was no pro- 
vision of light ; but it must have been adapted to this use 
not long after the place was built. The woodwork of 
carved oak was early seventeenth century. I did not 
have time to look over the books, and there was no cata- 
logue; but from the few which I glanced at I could see 
that whoever had gathered the library must have been a 
scholar and an enthusiast. 

In the course of our survey of the castle, Marjory 
showed me the parts which were barred up and the rooms 
which were locked. That such a thing should be in a 
house in which she lived was a never-ending source of 
curiosity. There was a dozen times as much room as she 
could possibly want; but here was something unknown 
and forbidden. She being a woman, it became a Tree of 
Knowledge and a Bluebeard's Chamber in one. She was 

196 The Mystery of the Sea 

so eager about it that I asked if she could not get permis- 
sion from the agent to go through the shut rooms and 
places so as to satisfy herself. She replied that she had 
already done so, the very day after she had arrived, and 
had had an answer that the permission could not be given 
without the consent of the owner; but that as he was 
shortly expected in Scotland her request would be for- 
warded to him and his reply when received would be at 
once communicated to her. Whilst we were talking of 
the subject a telegram to Mrs. Jack came from the agent, 
saying that the owner had arrived and was happy to 
give permission required and that further he would be 
obliged if the tenant would graciously accord him per- 
mission to go some day soon through the house which he 
had not seen for many years. A telegram was at once 
sent in 'Mrs. Jack's name, thanking him for the per- 
mission and saying that the owner would be most welcome 
to go through the house when he pleased. 

As I was anxious to hear if there was any news from 
Adams I said good-bye at the door, and rode back on my 
bicycle. I had asked Marjory to renew her promise of 
not .going out alone for another day, and she had ac- 
ceded ; ' only to please you/ she said this time. 

I found a wire from Adams sent at six o'clock: 

" Important news. Come here at once." I might 
catch the train if I hurried, so jumped on my bicycle and 
got to the station just in time. 

I found Adams in his room at the Palace Hotel, walk- 
ing up and down like a caged panther. When I came in 
he rushed over to me and said eagerly as he handed me a 
sheet of note paper: 

" Read that ; it is a translation of our cipher telegram. 
I thought you would never come ! " I took it with a 
sinking heart; any news that was so pressing could not 
be good, and bad must affect Marjory somehow. I read. 

Secret Service 197 

the document over twice before I fully understood its 
meaning. It ran as follows : 

" Secret Service believe that Drake plot is to kidnap and 
ransom. Real plotters are understood to be gang who 
stole Stewart's body. Are using certain Spanish and 
other foreigners as catspaw. Heads of plot now in Eu- 
rope, Spain, England, Holland. Expect more details. 
Use all precautions." 

" What do you think of that? " said Adams when I had 
taken my eyes off the paper. 

" I hardly know yet. What do you make of it ? You 
have thought of it longer than I have." 

" Just what I have thought all along. The matter is 
serious, very serious ! In one way that wire is some- 
thing of a relief. If that kidnapping gang are behind it, 
it doesn't mean political vengeance, but only boodle; so 
that the fear of any sudden attack on her life is not so 
imminent. The gang will take what care they can to 
keep from killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. 
But then, the political desperadoes who would enter on 
such a matter are a hard crowd ; if they are in power, or 
at any rate in numerical force, they may not be easy to 
keep back. Indeed, it is possible that they too may have 
their own game to play, and may be using the black- 
mailers for their own purpose. I tell you, old man, we 
are in a very tight place, and must go to work pretty 
warily. The whole thing swings so easily to one side or 
the other, that any false move on the part of any of us 
may give the push to the side we would least care should 
win. By the way, I take it that you are of the same 
mind still regarding Miss Drake's wishes." 

" Now and always ! But as you can guess I am 
anxious to know all I can that can help me to guard her." 
Somewhat to my astonishment he answered heartily : 

" All right, old chap, of course I will tell you ; but I 

198 The Mystery of the Sea 

will depend on your letting me know of anything you are 
free to tell which might serve me in my work." 

" Certainly ! I say," I added, " you don't mind my not 
having worked with you about finding her address." 

" Not a bit ! I have to find it in my own way ; that is 
all ! " There was a sort of satisfaction, if not of triumph, 
in his tone which set me thinking. 

" Then you know it already ? " I said. 

" Not yet ; but I hope to before the night is over." 

" Have you a clue ? " He laughed. 

" Clue ? a hundred. Why, man, none of us were born 
yesterday. There isn't a thing on God's earth that mayn't 
be a clue now and again if it is properly used. You are 
a clue yourself if it comes to that." In a flash I saw it all. 
Adams had come to Cruden to point me out to his detect- 
ives. These were the keen-looking men who were at 
Cruden when he was. Of course they had followed me, 
and Marjory's secret was no secret now. I said nothing 
for a little while ; for at the first I was angry that Adams 
should have used me against my will. Then two feelings 
strove for mastery; one of anxiety lest my unconscious 
betrayal of her secret might hurt me in Marjory's eyes, 
the other relief that now she was in a measure protected 
by the resources of her great country. I was easier in 
my mind concerning her safety when I thought of those 
keen, alert men looking after her. Then again I thought 
that Adams had done nothing which I could find fault 
with. I should doubtless have done the same myself had 
occasion arisen. I was chagrined, however, to think that 
it had all been so childishly simple. I had not even con- 
templated such a contingency. If I couldn't plot and hide 
my tracks better than that, I should be but a poor ally for 
Marjory in the struggle which she had voluntarily under- 
taken against her unknown foes. 

Secret Service 199 

Before I left Adams, I told him that I would come 
back on the to-morrow evening. I went to bed early in 
the Palace hotel, as I wanted to catch the first train back 
to Cruden. 


IT was now a serious matter of thought to me how 
I could take Marjory into proper confidence, with- 
out spoiling things and betraying Adams's con- 
fidence. As I pondered, the conviction grew upon me 
that I had better be quite frank with her and ask her 
advice. Accordingly when I saw her at Crom at noon 
J entered on the matter, though I confess with trepida- 
tion. When I told her I wanted to ask her advice she 
was all attention. I felt particularly nervous as I began : 
" Marjory, when a man is in a hole he ought to con- 
sult his best friend ; oughtn't he ? " 
"Why certainly!" 

" And you are my best friend ; are you not ? " 
" I hope so ! I should certainly like to be." 
"Well, look here, dear, I am in such a tangle that 
I can't find a way out, and I want you to help me." She 
must have guessed at something like the cause of my 
difficulty, for a faint smile passed over her face as she 

" The old trouble ? Sam Adams's diplomacy, eh ? " 
" It is this. I want to know how you think I should 
act so as to give least pain to a very dear friend of mine, 
and at the same time do a very imperative duty. You 
may see a way out that I don't." 
" Drive on dear ; I'm listening." 

" Since we met I have had some very disturbing in- 
formation from a source which I am not at liberty to 


A Subtle Plan 201 

mention. I can tell you all about this, though you must 
not ask me how I know it. But first there is something- 
else. I believe, though I do not know for certain, that 
your secret is blown; that the deteclivcs have discovered 
where you live." She sat up at once. 

" What ! " I went on quickly : 

"And I am sorry to say that if it Js discovered it 
has been through me; though not by any act or indeed 
by any fault of mine." She laid her hand on mine and 
said reassuringly : 

" If you are in it, I can look at it differently. May 
I ask how you came into that gallery ? " 

" Certainly ! I am not pledged as to this. It was by 
the most simple and transparent of means. You and I 
were seen together. They did not know where to look 
for you or follow you up, when they had lost the scent ; 
but they knew me and watched me. Voila!" 

" That's simple enough anyhow ! " was her only com- * 
ment. After a while she asked: 

" Do you know how far they have got in their search ? " 

" I do not ; I only know that they expected to find 
where you lived two days ago. I suppose they have 
found it out by this." 

" Sam Adams is getting too clever. They will be 
making him President, or Alderman or something, if 
he doesn't look out. But do you know yet why all this 
trouble is being taken about me." 

" I can tell you," I answered " but you must not tell 
any one, for it would not do for the sake of others if 
it got about. There is a plan got up by a gang of black- 
mailers to kidnap you for a ransom." She jumped up 
with excitement and began to clap her hands. 

" Oh, that is too delicious ! " she said. " Tell me all 
you know of it. We may be able to lead them on a bit. 
It will be an awful lark ! " I could not possibly share 

2O2 The Mystery of the Sea 

her mirth; the matter was really too grave. She saw 
my feeling in my face and stopped. She thought for 
a minute or two with her brows wrinkled and then she 

" Are you really serious, Archie, as to an} danger in 
the matter?" 

" My dear, there is always danger in a conspiracy of 
base men. We have to fear, for we don't know the 
power or numbers of the conspiracy. We have no idea 
of their method of working, or where or how we may 
expect attack. The whole thing is a mystery to us. 
Doubtless it will only come from one point ; but we must 
be ready to repel, all round the compass." 

"' But, look here, it is only danger." 

"The danger is to you; if it were to me, I think I 
could laugh myself. But, my darling, remember that it is 
out of my love for you that my fear comes. If you were 
nothing to me, I could, I suppose, bear it easily enough. 
You have taken new responsibilities on you, Marjory, 
since you let a man love you. His heart is before you to 
walk on; so you have to tread carefully." 

" I can avoid treading on it, can't I ? " she said falling 
into the vein of metaphor. " Surely, if there is any- 
thing in the world that by instinct 1 could know is in 
danger, it would be your heart ! " 

" Ah, my dear, it does not stay still. It will keep 
rolling along with you wherever you go; hopping back 
and forward and sideways in every conceivable way. 
You must now and again tread on it for all your care; 
in the dark or in the light." 

" I had no idea," she said " that I had taken such a 
responsibility on my shoulders when I said I would 
marry you." 

" It is not the marrying " I said " but the loving that 
makes the trouble 1 " 

A Subtle Plan 203 

" I see ! " she replied and was silent for a while. Then 
she turned to me and said very sweetly: 

" Anyhow Archie, whatever we may settle about what 
we are to do, I am glad you came to consult me and to 
tell me frankly of your trouble. Do this always, my dear. 
It will be best for you, and best for me too, to feel that 
you trust me. You have given me a pleasure to-day 
that is beyond words. 1 ' 

Then we spoke of other things, and we agreed to 
wait till the next day before arranging any fixed plan 
of action. Before I went away, and whilst the sentiment 
of parting was still on her, she said to me and I could 
see that the thought had been in her mind for some time : 

" Archie, you and I are to live together as man and 
wife. Is it not so ? I think we both want to be as nearly 
one as a man and a woman can be flesh of each other's 
flesh, and bone of bone, and soul of soul. Don't you 
think we shall become this better by being joined, us 
two, against all comers. We have known each other only 
a short time as yet. What we have seen of each other 
has been good enough to make us cling together for life. 
But, my dear, what has been, has been only the wishing to 
cling ; the clinging must be the struggle that is to follow. 
Be one with me in this fight. It is my fight, I feel, begun 
before i ever knew you. When your fight comes, and 
I can see you have it before you with regard to that 
treasure, you will know that you can count on me. It may 
be only a fancy of mine, but the comradeship of pioneers, 
when the men and women had to fight together against a 
common foe, runs in my blood! Let me feel, before I 
give myself altogether to your keeping, or you to mine, 
that there is something of this comradeship between us; 
it will make love doubly dear ! " 

What could a man in love say to this? It seemed 
like the very essence of married love, and was doubly 

204 The Mystery of the Sea 

dear to me on that account. Pledged by my kisses I 
came away, feeling as if 1 had in truth left my wife 

When I got back to Cruden I took up the matter of 
the treasure whilst I was waiting for news from Adams. 
In the stir of the events of the last few days I had almost 
forgotten it. I read the papers over again, as I wished 
to keep myself familiar with the facts; I also went 
over the cipher, for I did not wish to get stale in it. As 
I laboured through it, all Marjory's sweetness to me on 
that day of the ride from Braemar came back to me ; and 
as I read 1 found myself unconsciously drumming out 
the symbols on the table with the fingers of my right 
hand and my left after the fashion of Marjory's variant. 
When I was through, I sat pondering, and all sorts of 
new variants kept rising before me in that kind of linked 
succession when the mind runs free in day-dreaming and 
one idea brings up another. I was not altogether easy, 
for I was now always expecting some letter or tele- 
gram of a disconcerting kind; anxiety had become an 
habitual factor in my working imagination. All sorts of 
possibilities kept arising before me, mostly with reference 
to Marjory. I was glad that already we understood in 
common one method of secret communication ; and I de- 
termined then and there that when I went over to Crom 
on the next day I would bring the papers with me, and 
that Marjory and I would renew our lesson, and practice 
till we were quite familiar with the cipher. 

Just then a message was brought to me that a gentle- 
man wished to see me, so I asked the maid to bring him 
up. I do not think that I was altogether surprised to 
find that he was one of the three men whom I had seen 
at Cruden before. He handed me in silence a letter 
which I found to be from Adams. I read it with a sink- 
ing heart. In it he told me that it was now ascertained 

A Subtle Plan 205 

that two members of the blackmail gang had come to 
England. They had been seen to land at Dover, but 
got out between there and London; and their trace was 
lost. He said he wished to advise "me at once, so that 
I might be on the alert. He would himself take his 
own steps as I understood. The messenger, when he saw 
I had read the letter, asked me if there was any answer. 
I said " only thanks " and he went away. It was not 
till afterwards that I remembered that I might have 
asked the man to tell me something of the appearance 
of the suspected men, so that I might know them if I 
should come across them. Once again I fell in my own 
esteem as a competent detective. In the meantime I 
could do nothing; Marjory's last appeal to me made it 
impossible for me to take steps against her wishes. She 
manifestly wanted the fight with the kidnappers to go on ; 
and she wanted me to be with her in it heart and soul. 
Although this community of purpose was sweet, there 
grew out of our very isolation a new source of danger, 
a never-ending series of dangers. The complications 
were growing such that it would soon be difficult to 
take any step at all with any prospect of utility. Marjory 
would now be watched with all the power and purpose of 
the American Secret Service. That she would before 
long infallibly find it out, and that she would in such 
case endeavour at all hazards to escape from it, was 
apparent. If she did escape from their secret surveillance, 
she would be playing into the hands of her enemies ; and 
so might incur new danger. I began to exercise my 
brain as to how I could best help her wishes. If we were 
to fight together and alone, we would at least make as 
good a battle as we could. 

I thought, and thought, and thought till my head began 
to spin; and then an idea all at once sprang into my 
view. It was so simple, and so much in accord with 

2o6 The Mystery of the Sea 

my wishes; so delightful, that I almost shouted out 
with joy. 

I did not lose a minute, but hurried a change of clothes 
into a bag and caught the train for Aberdeen en route 
for London. 

I did not lose any time. Next morning I was in Lon- 
don and went with my solicitor to Doctor's Commons. 
There I got a license of the Archbishop of Canterbury 
entitling Archibald Hunter and Marjory Anita Drake to 
be married anywhere in England there being no similar 
license in Scotland. I returned at once, stopping at Car- 
lisle to make arrangements with a local clergyman to be 
ready to perform a marriage service at eight o'clock of 
the second morning. 


1 THINK Marjory must have suspected that I had 
something strange to say, for almost as soon as 
I came in the morning room I saw that queer little 
lift of her eyebrows and wrinkle in her brows which I 
was accustomed to see when she was thinking. She held 
out her two hands towards me so that I could see them 
without Mrs. Jack being able to. She held up her fingers 
in the following succession: 

Left index finger, right middle finger, left little finger, 
right little finger, left thumb, right fourth finger, 
right index finger, left thumb, right index finger; thus 
spelling " wait " in her own variant of our biliteral cipher. 
I took her hint, and we talked commonplaces. Presently 
she brought me up to the long oak-lined room at the top 
of the Castle. Here we were all alone ; from the window 
seat at the far end we. could see that no one came into 
the room unknown to us. Thus we were sure of not 
being overhead. Marjory settled herself comfortably 
amongst a pile of cushions, " Now " she said " go on 
and tell me all about it ! 

" About what ? " said I, fencing a little. 

" The news that you are bursting to tell me. Held 
on! I'll guess at it. You are elated, therefore it is not 
bad ; but being news and not bad it must be good from 
your point of view at any rate. Then you are jubilant, 
so there must be something personal in it you are sufii- 


208 The Mystery of the Sea 

ciently an egoist for that. I am sure that nothing busi- 
ness-like or official, such as the heading off the kid- 
nappers, would have such a positive effect on you. Then, 
it being personal, and you having rather more of a domi- 
nant air than usual about you Let me see Oh ! " she 
stopped in confusion, and a bright blush swept over her 
face and neck. I waited. It frightened me just a wee 
bit to see the unerring accuracy with which she summed 
me up; but she was clearing the ground for me rapidly 
and effectively. After a pause she said in a small voice: 

" Archie show me what you have got in your waist- 
coat pocket." It was my turn to blush a bit now. I 
took out the tiny case which held the gold ring and 
handed it to her. She took it with a look of adorable 
sweetness and opened it. I think she suspected only 
an engagement ring, for when she saw it was one of 
plain gold she shut the box with a sudden " Oh ! " and 
kept it hidden in her hand, whilst her face was as red 
as sunset. I felt that my time had come. 

" Shall I tell you now ? " I asked putting my arms 
round her. 

" Yes ! if you wish." This was said in a low voice 
" But I am too surprised to think. What does it all 
mean ? I thought that this this sort of thing came later, 
and after some time was mutually fixed for for it!" 

"No time like the present, Marjory dear!" As she 
was silent, though she looked at me wistfully, I went on : 

" I have made a plan and I think you will approve of 
it. That is as a whole; even if you dislike some of the 
details. What do you think of an escape from the espio- 
nage of both the police and the other fellows. You got 
hidden before; why not again, when once you have put 
them off the scent. I have as a matter of fact planned 
a little movement which will at any rate try whether we 
can escape the watchfulness of these gentlemen." 

Inductive Ratiocination 209 

" Good ! " she said with interest. 

" Well, first of all " I went on, getting nervous as I 
drew near the subject " Don't you think that it will be 
well to prevent anyone talking about us, hereafter, in 
an unpleasant way?" 

" I'm afraid I don't quite understand ! " 

" Well, look here.. Marjory. You and I are going to be 
much thrown together in these matters that seem to be 
coming on; if there is any escaping to be done, there 
will be watchful eyes on us before it, and gossiping 
tongues afterwards ; and inquiries and comparing of notes 
everywhere. We shall have to go off together, often 
alone or under odd circumstances. You can't fight a 
mystery in the open, you know ; and you can't by walking 
out boldly, bamboozle trained detectives who have already 
marked you down. 

" Not much ; but it doesn't need any torturing of our 
brains with thinking to know that." 

" Well then my suggestion is that we be married at 
once. Then no one can ever say anything in the way 
of scandal; no matter what we do, or where we go!" 
My bolt was sped, and somehow my courage began to 
ooze away. I waited to hear what she would say. She 
waited quite a while and then said quietly : 

" Don't be frightened, Archie, I am thinking it over. 
I must think; it is all too serious and too sudden to 
decide on in a moment. I am glad, anyhow, that you 
show such decision of character, and turn passing cir- 
cumstances into the direction in which you wish them 
to work. It argues well for the future 1 " 

" Now you are satirical ! " 

"Just a little. Don't you think there is an excuse?" 
She was not quite satisfied; and indeed I could not be 
surprised. I had thought of the matter so unceasingly 
for the last twenty-four hours that I did not miss any of 

2io The Mystery of the Sea 


the arguments against myself; my natural dread of her 
refusal took care of that. As, however, I almost expected 
her to begin with a prompt negative, I was not unduly 
depressed by a shade of doubt. I was z however, so 
single-minded in my purpose my immediate purpose 
that I could endure to argue with her doubts. As it 
was evident that she, naturally enough, thought that I 
wanted her to marry me at once out of the ardour of 
my love, I tried to make her aware as well as I could of 
my consideration for her wishes. Somehow, I felt at 
my best as I spoke ; and I thought that she felt it too : 

"I'm not selfish in the matter, Marjory dear; at 
least I don't wish to be. In this 1 am thinking of you 
altogether; and to prove it let me say that all I suggest 
is the formal ceremony which will make us one in form. 
Later on and this shall be when you choose yourself 
and only then we can have a real marriage, where and 
when you will ; with flowers and bridesmaids and wedding 
cake and the whole fit out. We can be good comrades 
still, even if we have been to church together^; and I will 
promise you faithfully that till your own time I won't 
try to make love to you even when you're my wife of 
course any more than I do now. Surely that's not too 
much to ask in the way of consideration." 

My dear Marjory gave in at once. It might have 
been that she liked the idea of an immediate marriage; 
for she loved me, and all lovers like the seal of possession 
fixed upon their hopes: 

"Time goes on crutches, till love have all his rites." 

But be this as it may, she wished at any rate to be- 
lieve in me. She came to me and put both her hands 
in mine and said with a gentle modesty, which was 
all tenderness in fact, and all wifely in promise: 

Inductive Ratiocination 211 

" Be it as you will, Archie ! I am all yours in heart 
now; and I am ready to go through the ceremony when 
you will." 

" Remember, dear " I protested " it is only on your 
account, and to try to meet your wishes at any sacrifice, 
that I suggested the interval of comradeship. As far as 
1 am concerned I want to go straight to the altar the 
real altar now." Up went her warning finger as she 
said lovingly: 

" I know all that dear ; and I shall remember it when 
the time comes. But what have we to do to prepare for 
for the wedding. Is it to be in a church or at a registry. 
I suppose it doesn't matter which under the circumstances 
and as we are to have the real marriage later. .When 
do you wish it to be, and where ? " 

" To-morrow ! " She started slightly as she murmured : 

" So soon ! I did not think it could be so soon." 

" The sooner the better " said I " If we are to carry 
out our plans. All's ready ; see here " I handed her the 
license which she read with glad eyes and a sweet blush. 
When she had come to the end of it I said: 

" I have arranged with the clergyman of St. Hilda's 
Church in Carlisle to be ready at eight o'clock to-morrow 
morning." She sat silent a while and then asked me: 

" And how do you suggest that I am to get there with- 
out the detectives seeing me ? " 

" That is to be our experiment as to escape. I would 
propose that you should slip out in some disguise. You 
will of course have to arrange with Mrs. Jack, and at least 
one servant, to pretend that you are still at home. Why 
not let it> be understood that you have a headache and 
are keeping your room. Your meals can be taken to you 
as would be done, and the life of the household seem to 
go on just as usual." 

"And what disguise had you thought of? " 

212 The Mystery of the Sea 

" I thought that if you went dressed as a man it would 
be best." 

" Oh that would be a lark ! " she said. Then her face 
fell. " But where am I to get a man's dress ? There 
is not time if I am to be in Carlisle to-morrow morning." 

" Be easy as to that, dear. A man's dress is on its way 
to you now by post. It should be here by now. I am 
afraid you will have to take chance as to its fit. It is 
of pretty thick cloth, however, so that it will look all 

"What sort of dress is it?" 

" A servant's, a footman's. I thought it would proba- 
bly avoid suspicion easier than any other." 

" That goes ! Oh this is too thrilling ; " she stopped 
suddenly and said : 

" But how about Mrs. Jack? " 

" She will go early this afternoon to Carlisle and put up 
at a little hotel out of the way. I have got rooms in 
one close to the station. At first I feared it would not 
be possible for her to be with us ; but then when I thought 
it over, I came to the conclusion that you might not care 
to let the matter come off at all unless she were present. 
And besides you would want her to be with you to-night 
when you are in a strange place." Again she asked after 
another pause of thought: 

" But how am I to change my clothes ? I can't be 
married as a footman ; and I can't go to a strange hotel 
as one, and come out as a young lady." 

" That is all thought out. When you leave here you 
will find me waiting for you with a bicycle in the wood 
on the road to Ellon. You will have to start about half 
past five. No one will notice that you are using a lady's 
wheel. You will come to Whinnyfold where you will 
find a skirt and jacket and cap. They are the best I could 
get. We shall ride into Aberdeen as by that means we 

Inductive Ratiocination 213 

shall minimise the chance of being seen. There we will 
catch the eight train to Carlisle where we shall arrive 
about a quarter to two. Mrs. Jack will be there ready 
for you and will have the dress you will want to-morrow." 

" Oh, poor dear won't she be flustered and mystified ! 
How lucky it is- that she likes you, and is satisfied with 
you ; otherwise I am afraid she would never agree to 
such precipitancy. But hold on a minute ! Won't it look 
odd to our outside friends on the watch if a footman 
goes out and doesn't return." 

" You will return to-morrow late in the evening. Mrs. 
Jack will be home by then; she must arrange to keep 
the servants busy in some distant part of the house, so 
that you can come in unobserved. Besides, the detectives 
have to divide their watches; the same men will not be 
on duty I take it. Anyhow, if they do not consider the 
outgoing of a footman as sufficiently important to follow 
him up they will not trouble much about his incoming." 

This all seemed feasible to Marjory; so we talked 
the matter over and arranged a hundred little details. 
These things she wrote down for Mrs. Jack's enlighten- 
ment, and to aid her memory when she would be alone 
to carry out the plans as arranged. 

Mrs. Jack was a little hard to convince; but at last 
she came round. She persisted to almost the end of our 
interview in saying that she could not understand the 
necessity for either the hurry or the mystery. She was 
only convinced when at last Marjory said : 

" Do you want us to have all the Chicago worry over 
again, dear? You approve of my marrying Archie do 
you not ? Well, I had such a sickener of proposals and all 
about it, that if I can't marry this way now, I wont marry 
at all. My dear, I want to marry Archie ; you know we 
love each other." 

"Ah, that I do, my dears!" 

214 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Well then you must help us ; and bear with all our 
secrecy for a bit; won't you dear?" 

" That I will, my child ! " she said wiping tears from 
the corners of her eyes. 

So it was all settled. 


FORTUNE favoured us admirably in our plans. 
Mrs. Jack, taking only her dressing bag and a 
few odd parcels, went by the afternoon train 
from Ellon to Aberdeen. In hearing of the household 
she regretted that she had to go alone, as Miss Marjory 
was unable to leave her room. About five o'clock I was 
in the wood as appointed; and in about half an hour 
Marjory joined me in her footman's livery. I had a 
flannel coat in my bag which we exchanged for that 
which she wore and which we hid in the wood. We 
were thus less noticeable. We reached Whinnyfold a 
little after six, and Marjory went into the house and 
changed her dress which was left ready. She was not 
long; and we were soon flying on our road to Aberdeen. 
We arrived a little before eight and caught the mail ; ar- 
riving at Carlisle at ten minutes to two o'clock. In 
the hotel we found Mrs. Jack anxiously awaiting us. 

In the early morning we were ready; and at eight 
o'cl ck we all went together to St. Hilda's Church, where 
the clergyman was waiting as had been arranged. All 
formalities were gone through and Marjory and I were 
made one. She looked oh ! so sweet in her plain white 
frock; and her manner was gentle and solemn. It all 
seemed to me like a dream of infinite happiness ; from 
which every instant I feared I should wake, and find 
in its stead some grim reality of pain, or terror, or un- 
utterable commonplace. 


2i6 The Mystery of the Sea 

When we went back to breakfast at the hotel, we did 
not even go through the form of regarding it as in any 
way a wedding feast. Marjory and I had each our part 
to play, and we determined I certainly did to play it 
well. Mrs. Jack had been carefully coached by Marjory 
as to how she should behave ; and though now and again 
she looked from one to the other of us wistfully, she did 
not make any remark. 

After a little shopping we got the 12:53 train, 
arriving at Aberdeen at 6:20. Mrs. Jack was to go 
on by the 7 train to Ellon where the carriage was to 
meet her. My wife and I got our bicycles and rode 
to Whinnyfold by Newburgh and Kirkton so as to avoid 
observation. When she had changed her clothes in our 
own house, we started for Crom. In the wood she 
changed her coat and left her bicycle. 

Before we parted she gave me a kiss and a hug that 
made my blood tingle. 

" You have been good " she said " and that is for my 
husband ! " Once again she held up that warning finger 
which I had come to know so well, and slipped away. 
She then went on alone to the Castle, whilst I waited in 
nervous expectancy of hearing the whistle which she 
was to blow in case of emergency. Then I rode home 
like a man in a dream. 

I left my bicycle at the hotel, and after some supper 
walked by the sands to Whinnyfold, stopping to linger 
at each spot which was associated with my wife. My 
wife ! it was almost too much to think of ; I could hardly 
realise as yet that it was all real. As I sat on the Sand 
Craigs I almost fancied I could see Marjory's figure once 
again on the lonely rock. It seemed so long ago, for 
so much had happened since then. 

And yet it was but a few days, all told, since we had 
first met. Things had gone in a whirl indeed. There 

A Whole Wedding Day 217 

seemed to have been no pause ; no room for a pause. And 
now I was married. Marjory was my wife; mine for 
good or ill, till death did us part. Circumstances seemed 
to have driven us so close together that we seemed not 
new lovers, not bride and groom, but companions of a 

And yet . . . There was Marjory in Crom, com- 
passed round by unknown dangers, whilst I, her husband 
of a few hours, was away in another place, unable even 
to gaze on her beauty or to hear her voice. Why, it was 
not like a wedding day or a honeymoon at all. Other 
husbands instead of parting with their wives were able 
to remain with them, free to come and go as they 
pleased, and to love each other unfettered as they would. 
Why. . . . 

I brought myself up sharp. This was grumbling al- 
ready, and establishing a grievance. I, who had myself 
proposed the state of things to Marjory, to my wife. 
She was my wife ; mine against all the rest of the world. 
My love was with her, and my duty was to her. My 
heart and soul were in her keeping, and I trusted her to 
the full. This was not my wedding day in the ordinary 
sense of the word at all. This was not my honeymoon. 
Those things would come later, when our joy would be 
unfettered by circumstances. Surely 1 had reason to 
rejoice. Already Mariory had called me her husband, 
she had kissed me as such ; the sweetness of her kiss was 
still tingling on my lips. If anything but love and trust 
could come to me from sitting still and sentimentalising 
and brooding, then the sooner I started in to do some 
active work the better ! 

I rose straightway and went across the headland to 
my house, unpacked the box of tools which had come 
from Aberdeen, and set about my task of trying to make 
an opening into the cave. 

2i 8 The Mystery of the Sea 

I chose for various reasons the cellar as the spot at 
which to make the first attempt. In the first place it was 
already dug down to a certain depth, so that the labour 
would be less; and in the second, my working could be 
kept more secret. In clearing the foundations of the 
house the workmen had gone down to the rock nearly all 
round. Just at the end of Witsennan point there seemed 
to be a sort of bowl-like hollow, where the thin skin of 
earth lay deeper than elsewhere. It was here that the 
cellar was dug out, and the labour of cutting or blasting 
the rock saved. With a pick-axe I broke and stripped away 
a large patch of the concrete in the centre of the cellar, 
and in a short time had dug and shovelled away the 
earth and sand which lay between the floor level and the 
bed rock. I cleared away till the rock was bare some 
four or five feet square, before I commenced to work on 
it. I laboured furiously. What I wanted was work, 
active work which would tire my muscles and keep my 
thoughts from working into channels of gloom and dis- 

It took me some time to get into the way of using the 
tools. It is all very well in theory for a prisoner to get 
out of a jail or a fortress by the aid of a bit of scrap 
iron. Let any one try it in real life; under the most 
favourable conditions, and with the best tools available, 
he will come to the conclusion that romancing is easy 
work. I had the very latest American devices, including 
a bit-and-brace which one could lean on and work with- 
out stooping, and diamond patent drills which could, 
compared with ordinary tools of the old pattern, eat their 
way into rock at an incredible rate. My ground was on 
the gneiss side of the geological division. Had it been 
on the granite side of the line my labour and its rapidity 
might have been different. 

I worked away hour after hour, and fatigue seemed to 

A Whole Wedding Day 219 

come and go. I was not sleepy, and there was a feverish 
eagerness on me which would not let me rest. When 
I paused to ease my muscles cramped with work, thought 
came back to me of how different this night might have 
been. ,. . . And then I set furiously to work again. 
At last I took no heed of the flying hours ; and was only 
recalled to time by the flickering of my lamp, which was 
beginning to go out. When I stood up from my task, 
I was annoyed to see how little I had done. A layer 
of rock of a few inches deep had been removed ; and that 
was all. 

When I went up the steps after locking the cellar 
door behind me and taking away the key, I saw the 
grey light of dawn stealing in through the windows. 
Somewhere in the village a cock crew. As I stepped out 
of the door to return home, the east began to quicken 
with coming day. My wedding night had passed. 

As I went back to Cruden across the sands my heart 
went out in love without alloy to my absent wife; and 
the first red bolt of dawn over the sea saw only hope 
upon my face. 

When I got to my room I tumbled into bed, tired 
beyond measure. In an instant I was asleep, dreaming 
of my wife and all that had been, and all that was to be. 

Marjory had arranged that she and Mrs. Jack were 
for the coming week at least, to come over to Cruden every 
day, and lunch at the hotel; for my wife had set her 
heart on learning to swim. I was to be her teacher, 
and I was enthusiastic about the scheme. She was an 
apt pupil; and she was strong and graceful, and al- 
ready skilled in several other physical accomplishments, 
we both found it easy work. The training which she 
had already had, made a new accomplishment easy. Be- 
fore the week was over she was able to get along so 
well, that only practice was needed to make her a good 

220 The Mystery of the Sea 

swimmer. All this time we met in public as friends, 
but no more; we were scrupulously careful that no one 
should notice even an intimacy between us. When we 
were alone, which was seldom and never for long, we 
were good comrades as before; and I did not venture 
to make love in any way. At first it was hard to re- 
frain, for I was wildly in love with my wife; but I 
controlled myself in accordance with my promise. I 
soon began to have a dawning feeling that this very 
obedience was my best means to the end I wished 
for. Marjory grew to have such confidence in me 
that she could be more demonstrative than before, 
and I got a larger share of affection than I ex- 
pected. Besides I could see with a joy unspeakable 
that her love for me was growing day by day ; the tenta- 
tive comradeship without prejudice was wearing thin ! 

All this week, whilst Marjory was not near, I worked in 
the cellar at Whinnyfold. As I became more expert with 
the tools, I made greater progress, and the hole in the 
rock was becoming of some importance. One day on 
coming out after a spell of afternoon work, I found Gor- 
mala seated on a stone against the corner of the house. 
She looked at me fixedly and said : 

" Be yon a grave that ye thole ? " The question stag- 
gered me. 1 did not know that any one suspected that 
I was working in the house, or even that I visited it so 
often as I did. Besides, it did not suit my purpose that 
any one should be aware, under any circumstances, that 
I was digging a hole. I thought for a moment before 
answering her: 

" What do you mean ? " 

"Eh! but I'm thinkin' ye ken weel eneuch. I'm no 
to be deceived i' the soond. I've heard ower mony a time 
the chip o 1 the pick, not to ken it though there be walls 
atween. I wondered why ye came by yer lanes to this 

A Whole Wedding Day 221 

dreary hoose when ye sent yon bonnie lassie back to her 
hame. Aye she is bonnie though her pride be cruel to the 
aud. Ah, weel! The Fates are workin' to their end, 
whatsoe'er it may be. I maun watch, so that I may be 
nigh when the end cometh ! " 

There was no use arguing with her; and besides any- 
thing that I could say would only increase her suspicion. 
Suspicion abroad about my present task was the last 
thing I wished for. 

She was round about the headland the next morning, 
and the next, and the next. During the day I never 
saw her; but at night she was generally to be found 
on the cliff above the Reivie o'Pircappies. I was glad of 
one thing ; she did not seem to suspect that I was working 
all the time. Once I asked her what she was waiting 
for ; she answered without looking at me : 

" In the dark will be a struggle in the tide-race, and 
a shrood floatin' in the air! When next death an' the 
moon an' the tide be in ane, the seein' o' the Mystery o' 
the Sea may be mine ! " 

It made me cold to hear her. This is what she foretold 
of Marjory; and she was waiting to see her prophecy 
come to pass. 


ONE night, when I had got down a considerable 
depth into the rock, I took the pick to loosen 
out some stone which I had drilled. As I 
struck, the sound of the rock was hollower than 1 had 
before noticed. My heart leaped into my mouth, and I 
had to pause. Then I struck again harder, and the 
sound was more hollow still. Whether or no it was the 
place I was looking for, there was some cave in the 
rock below me. I would have gone on working straight- 
way had there been anyone with me; but being alone I 
had to be careful. I was now standing on, evidently, 
only a layer of rock, over an opening of whose depth I 
was in ignorance. Should this piece of stone break away, 
as was quite possible from my working on it, I might 
be precipitated into a living tomb. The very secrecy in 
which I had kept my work, might tend to insure my 
death. Therefore I made all preparation for such a 
casualty. Henceforth I worked with round my waist 
a short rope the other end of which was fastened to a 
heavy staple in the wall. Even if the rock should give 
way underneath me, a foot or two would limit my fall. 
This precaution taken, I worked more furiously than 
ever. With a large hammer I struck the rock at the 
bottom of the shaft, again and again, with all my might. 
Then I heard a dull sound of something rattling below 
me ; the top of the cave was falling in. I redoubled my 


Entrance to the Cavern 223 

efforts; and all at once a whole mass of rock sunk be- 
neath my hammer and disappeared into a black chasm 
which sent up a whiff of cold air. I had seized my rope 
to scramble out, fearing asphyxiation ; but when I smelled 
salt water I did not fear. Then I knew that I had got an 
opening into a sea cave of some sort. I stuck to my 
work till I had hammered an irregular hole some three 
feet square. Then 1 came up to rest and think. I lowered 
a rope with a stone at the end, and found that the depth 
was some thirty feet. The stone had gone into water 
before it touched bottom. I could hear the " plop " as it 
struck the surface. As I thought it better not to descend 
by myself, lest there should be any danger of return- 
ing, I spent the rest of my stay for that evening in rigging 
up a pulley in the roof over the hole so that I might 
be lowered down when the time should come. Then I 
went home, for I feared lest the fascinating temptation to 
make the descent at once would overcome me. 

After breakfast I rode over to Crom, and when I was 
alone with Marjory told her of my discovery. She was 
wild with excitement, and I rejoiced to find that this 
new pleasure drew us even closer together. We agreed 
that she should come to help me; it would not do to 
take any one else into our confidence, and she would 
not hear of my going down into the cave alone. In order 
to avoid comment we thought it better that she should 
come late in the evening. The cave being dark, it was of 
course immaterial whether day or night was appointed 
for the experiment. Then it was, I could not help it, that 
1 said to her: 

" You see now the wisdom of our being married. We 
can go where we like; and if we should be found out 
no one can say a word ! " She said nothing ; there was 
nothing to say. We decided that she had better slip out, 
as she had done before, in the footman's dress. I went 

224 The Mystery of the Sea 

off and made preparation for her coming, bringing in 
food for supper and plenty of candles and matches and 
lamps and rope; for we did not know how long the ex- 
ploration might take. 

A little before nine o'clock I met her as before in the 
wood. She changed her livery coat for the flannel one, 
and we rode off to Whinnyfold. We got into the house 
without being noticed. 

When I took her down to the cellar and turned into 
the hole the reflector of the strong lamp, she held on to 
me with a little shiver. The opening did certainly look 
grim and awesome. The black rock was slimy with sea 
moisture, and the rays of the light were lost far below 
in the gloom. I told her what she would have to do in 
lowering me down, and explained the rude mechanism 
which I had constructed. She was, I could see, a little 
nervous with the responsibility ; and was anxious to know 
any detail so thoroughly that no accident of ignorance 
could occur. 

When the rope was round me and I was ready to de- 
scend, she kissed me more fondly than she had ever 
done yet, and held on to me as though loth to part. As 
I sank into the opening, holding the gasoline bicycle 
lamp which I had elected to take with me, I saw her 
pretty forehead wrinkled up in anxiety as she gave all 
her mind to the paying out of the rope. Even then I 
was delighted with the ease and poise of her beautiful 
figure, fully shown in the man's dress which she had not 
changed, as it was so suitable for the work she had 
to do. 

When I had been lowered some twenty feet, I turned 
my lantern down and saw through the sheen of water a 
bottom of rock with here and there a cluster of loose 
stones; one big slab which stuck up endwise, was evi- 
dently that which had fallen from the roof under my 

Entrance to the Cavern 225 

hammer. It was manifest that there was, in this part 
of the cave at ;ny rate, not sufficient water to make it 
a matter of any concern. I called to Marjory to lower 
slowly, and a few seconds later I stood in the cave, with 
the water just above my knees. I moved the new-fallen 
slab to one side lest it might injure any one who was 
descending. Then I took the strong rope from me, 
and knotted round my waist the end of the thin rope 
which I had brought for the purpose. This formed 
a clue, in case such should be necessary, and es- 
tablished a communication with Marjory which would 
tend to allay her anxiety. With the cord running through 
her fingers, she would know I was all right. I went cau- 
tiously through the cave, feeling my way carefully with 
the long stick which I had brought with me. When I 
had got some distance I heard Marjory's voice echoing 
through the cave : 

" Take care there are no octopuses ! " She had been 
thinking of all sorts of possible dangers. For my own 
part the idea of an octopus in the cave never crossed my 
mind. It was a disconcerting addition to my anxieties ; 
but there was nothing to do. 1 was not going to aban- 
don my project for this fear; and so I went on. 

Further inland the cave shelved down on one side, 
following the line of the rock so that I passed through 
an angular space which, though wide in reality, seemed 
narrow by comparison with the wide and lofty chamber 
into which I had descended. A little beyond this again, 
the rock dipped, so that only a low tunnel, some four 
feet high, rose above the water. I went on, carefully feel- 
ing my way, and found that the, cave ended in a point or 
narrow crevice. 

All this time I had been thinking that the appearance 
of the place did not quite tally with the description in 
de Escoban's narrative. No mention had been made 


226 The Mystery of the Sea 

of any such difficulties; as the few men had carried in 
what must have been of considerable bulk and weight 
there would have been great difficulties for them. 

So I retraced my steps, intending to see if there was any 
other branch nearer to the sea. I kept the line taut so 
that Marjory might not be alarmed. I think I was as 
glad as she was when I saw the light through the open- 
ing, and the black circle of her head as she looked down 
eagerly. When underneath, I told her of my adventure, 
and then turned seawards to follow the cave down. The 
floor here was more even, as though it had been worn 
smooth by sea wash and the endless rolling of pebbles. 
The water deepened only a few inches in all. As 1 went, 
I threw the rays of my lamp around, anxiously looking 
for some opening. The whole distance from the place 
where I had made the entry to the face of the cliff was 
not very great; but distance in the open seems very dif- 
ferent from that within an unknown cavern. Presently I 
came to a place where the floor of the cave was strewn 
with stones, which grew bigger and more as I went on ; 
till at last I was climbing up a rising pile of rocks. It was 
slippery work, for there seemed some kind of ooze or 
slime over the stones which made progress difficult. 
When I had climbed up about half way towards the 
roof, I noticed that on my left side the slope began to 
fall away. I moved over and raising my lamp saw to 
my inexpressible joy that there was an opening in the 
rock. Getting close I found that though it was nearly 
blocked with stones there was still a space large enough 
to creep through. Also with pleasure I saw that the 
stones here were small. With a very slight effort I dis- 
lodged some of them and sent them rolling down, thus 
clearing the way. The clatter of the stones evidently 
alarmed Marjory for I heard her calling to me. I 
hurried back under the opening the way seemed easy 

Entrance to the Cavern 227 

enough now I knew it and told her of my fresh dis- 
covery. . ; 

Then I went back again and climbed down the slope 
of fallen stones ; this was evidently the debris of the ex- 
plosion which had choked the mouth of the cave. The 
new passage trended away a little to the right, making 
a sharp angle with the cave I had left. Then after de- 
flecting to the left it went on almost straight for a con- 
siderable distance, thus lying, as I made it out, almost 
parallel to the first cave. I had very little anxiety as to 
the safety of the way. The floor seemed more level 
than even that of the entrance to the first cave. There 
was a couple of feet of water in the deepest part, but 
not more; it would not have been difficult to carry the 
treasure here. About two hundred feet in, the cave 
forked, one arm bending slightly to the left and the other 
to the right. I tried the former way and came to a 
sheer dip in the rock such as I had met with before. 
Accordingly I came back and tried the second. When I 
had gone on a little way, I found my line running out; 
so I went back and asked Marjory to throw me down 
the end. I was so sure of the road now that I did not 
need a clue. At first she demurred, but I convinced her; 
taking Jthe rope I fixed one end of it within the cave 
before it branched. Then I started afresh on my way, 
carrying the coil of rope with me. 

This branch of the cave went on crookedly with oc- 
casionally strange angles and sharp curves. Here and 
there, on one side or the other and sometimes on both, 
the rock walls bellied out, making queer chambers or 
recesses, or narrowing the cave to an aperture only a few 
feet wide. The roof too was raised or fell in places, so 
that I had now and again to bend my head and even to 
stoop; whilst at other times I stood under a sort of high 
dome. In such a zigzag course I lost my bearings some- 

228 The Mystery of the Sea 

what ; but I had an idea that the general tendency was in- 
land to the right. Strange to say, the floor of the cave 
remained nearly level. Here again, ages of tide and 
rolling pebbles had done their work effectively. My cord 
ran out again and I had to lose the far end and bring it 
on, fixing it afresh, as I did not like to proceed without 
keeping a clue behind me. Somewhat further on, the cave 
dipped and narrowed so that I had to bend nearly double 
to pass, my face being just above the water as I went. 
It was with difficulty that I kept the lamp from touching 
the water below or knocking against the rock above. I 
was much chagrined to find this change in the structure 
of the cave, for since I had entered on this branch of it 
I had completely made up my mind that I was on the right 
road and. that only a short time and a little distance lay 
between me and the treasure. However there was noth- 
ing to do but to go on. 

A few feet more and the roof began to rise ; at first in 
a very gentle slope, but then suddenly. Stretching my 
cramped back and raising my head, I looked around. I 
raised my lamp high, turning it so that its rays might let 
me take in a wide circle. 

I stood at the side of a large, lofty cave, quaint of out- 
line, with here and there smooth walls from which great 
masses of red rock projected ominously. So threatening 
did these overhanging masses look, that for a few seconds 
I feared to stir lest some of them should topple over on 
me. Then, when my eyes had become accustomed to the 
greater glare, I saw that they were simply masses of the 
rugged rock itself. The whole cave, so far as I could see, 
was red granite, formed of the great rock flung upward 
in the pristine upheaval which had placed the Skares in 
the sea. 


I LOOKED round the cave with mingled feelings. 
The place itself was, as a natural wonder, superb; 
but to me as a treasure hunter it was a disappoint- 
ment. In no way did it answer the description of Don de 
Escoban. However I did not despair; there were many 
openings, and some one of them might bring me to the 
required spot. I passed to the centre of the cavern and 
looked round. As I did so, I got a momentary fright, for 
several of the openings were so much alike that only for 
my rope I would not have been able to distinguish that by 
which I had come in. The lesson of this shock should not 
be lost ; I must make a mark by which I could distinguish 
this entrance from the others. No matter where the other 
openings might lead to, this alone, so far as I could tell, 
was the one which could lead me to safety. With a heavy 
pebble I hammered away at the right side of the entrance 
till I had chipped off a piece of rock. I could tell this 
place again by sight or by touch. Then I went round 
the cave examining the various branches. It was here 
that I began to feel the disadvantage of my imper- 
fect light. I wanted some kind of torch which would give 
sufficient light to see the whole place at once. One could 
get no tit idea of proportion by merely making the little 
patch of dim light from the bicycle lamp travel along the 
rocky walls. I felt that all this time Marjory must be 
anxious about me, doubly so since she had no clue to 


230 The Mystery of the Sea 

where I had gone. So I determined to come back at once, 
and postpone the thorough examination of the place until 
I should have proper appliances. Accordingly I made my 
way back to the place where Marjory anxiously awaited 

Her reception of me was sweet and tender. It was 
so natural that its force was hardly manifest. It may 
have been that my mind was so full of many things that I 
did not receive her caress with the same singleness of 
devotion as was my wont. Now that I was assured of 
her love for me, and since I had called her my wife, my 
love lost its element of anxiety. It is this security which 
marks the difference of a husband's love from that of a 
lover; doubt is an element of passion, but not of true 
conjugal love. It was only afterwards, when I was alone, 
and Marjory's enchanting presence was not with me, 
that I began to realise through the lenses of memory and 
imagination the full sweetness of my wife's greeting in 
her joy at the assurance of my safety. It took a very few 
moments to tell her all the details of my adventure, and 
of the conclusion which I had come to as to the need 
for postponement. She thoroughly agreed with me in the 
necessity ; and we then and there settled that it would be 
wiser for her to go back to Crom to-night. We were to 
settle later, when all preparations had been made, when 
we should again attempt the investigation of the cave. 

When I had put on dry clothes, we set out for Crom. 
We walked our bicycles past Whinnyfold, and were grate- 
ful for the unique peculiarity of that village, an absence of 
dogs. We did not light our lamps till we got on the 
Peterhead road ; and we put them out when we got into 
the mesh of crossroads near Crom. In the wood Marjory 
once more resumed her footman's coat, and we set out for 
the castle. On our way we had agreed that it would be 
best to try the other side of the castle where it was not 

Voices in the Dark 231 

likely that any stranger would attempt to approach, as 
there was only the mossy foot track through the wood by 
the old chapel. In the later days both Marjory and I had 
used our opportunities of finding new paths through the 
wood round the castle ; and we had already marked down 
several tracks which we could follow even in the dark 
with a little care. This was almost a necessity, as we had 
noticed of late traces of the watchers round the main 
gateway through which all in the castle were accustomed 
to come and go. 

The path which we took to-night required a long de- 
tour of the wood, as it lay right on the other side from 
the entrance gate. It was only a narrow grass path, 
beginning between two big trees which stood closely to- 
gether not very far from one of the flanking mounds or 
hillocks which here came closer down to the castle than 
any of the others. The path wound in and out among the 
tree trunks, till finally it debouched at the back of the old 
chapel which stood on a rising rock, hidden in the wood, 
some three hundred feet from the west side of the castle. 
It was a very old chapel, partly in ruins and antedating 
the castle by so many centuries that it was manifestly a 
relic of the older castle on whose site Crom was built. 
It may have been used for service early in the sixteenth 
century; but it could not even have been in repair, or 
even weather-proof, for there were breaches at the end of 
it in which had taken root seedlings which were now 
forest trees. There was one old oak whose girth and 
whose gnarled appearance could not have been achieved 
within two centuries. Not merely the roots but the very 
trunk and branches had pushed aside the great stones 
which lay firmly and massively across the long low win- 
dows peculiar to the place. These windows were mere 
longitudinal slits in the wall, a sort of organised inter- 
stices between great masses of stone. Each of the three 

232 The Mystery of the Sea 

on either side of the chapel was about two feet high and 
some six feet in length; one stone support, irregu- 
larly placed, broke the length of each. There was some 
kind of superstition amongst the servants regarding this 
place. None of them would under any circumstances go 
near it at night; and not even in daytime if they could 
decently excuse themselves. 

In front of the chapel the way was very much wider. 
Originally there had been a clear space leading through 
the wood: but centuries of neglect had done their work. 
From fallen pine-cone, and beech-mast, and acorn, here 
and there a tree had grown which now made of the origi- 
nal broad alleyway a number of tortuous paths between 
the towering trunks. One of the reasons why we had 
determined to use this path was that it was noiseless. 
Grass and moss and rusty heaps of pine needles be- 
trayed no footfall; with care one could come and go 
unheard. If once she could get through the wood 
unnoticed, Marjory might steal up to the doorway in 
the shadow of the castle and let herself in, unobserved. 

We went hand in hand slowly and cautiously, hardly 
daring to breathe; and after a time that seemed endless 
came out at the back of the chapel. Then we stole 
quietly along by the southern wall. As we passed the 
first window, Marjory who was ahead of me stopped 
and gripped my hand so hard that I knew there must be 
some good cause for her agitation. She pressed back so 
that we both stood away from the window opening which 
we could just see dimly outlined on the granite wall, the 
black vacancy showing against the lichen-covered stone. 
Putting her lips close to my ear she whispered : 

" There are people there. I heard them talking ! " 
My blood began to run cold. In an instant all the danger 
in which Marjory stood rushed back upon me. Of late 
we had been immune from trouble, so that danger which 

Voices in the Dark 233 

we did not know of seemed to stand far off ; but now the 
place and the hour, the very reputation of the old chapel, 
all sent back in a flood the fearful imaginings which had 
assailed me since first I had known of the plot against 
Marjory. Instinctively my first act was to draw my wife 
close to me and hold her tight. Even in that moment 
it was a joy to me to feel that she let herself come will- 
ingly. For a few moments we stood silent, with our 
hearts beating together ; then she whispered to me again : 

" We must listen. We may perhaps find out who they 
are, and what they intend." 

Accordingly we drew again close to the opening, Mar- 
jory standing under the aperture, and I beside it as I 
found I could hear better in this position. The stooping 
made the coursing of my own blood sound in my ears. 
The voice which we first heard was a strong one, for 
even when toned to a whisper it was resonant as well as 
harsh and raucous: 

" Then it's settled we wait till we get word from 
Whiskey Tommy. How long is it likely to be?" The 
answering voice, also a whisper, was smooth and oily, 
but penetrating: 

" Can't say. He has to square the Dutchy : and they 
take a lot of sugar, his kind. They're mighty pious when 
they're right end up; but Lordy! when they're down 
they're holy terrors. This one is a peach. But he's 
clever I will say that; and he knows it. I'm almost 
sorry we took him in now, though he is so clever. 
He'd better mind out, though, for none of us love 
him ; and if he goes back on us, or does not come up 
to the mark " He stopped, and the sentence was fin- 
ished by a click which I knew was the snapping of the 
spring of a bowie knife when it is thrown open. 

" And quite right too. I'm on if need be ! " and there 
was another click. The answering voice was strong and 

234 The Mystery of the Sea 

resolute, but somehow, for all the wicked intent spoken, 
it did not sound so evil as the other. I looked at Marjory, 
and saw through the darkness that her eyes were blazing. 
My heart leaped again ; the old pioneer spirit was awake 
in her, and somehow my dread for her was not the same. 
She drew close to me and whispered again : 

" Be ready to get behind the trees at the back, I hear 
them rising." She was evidently right, for now the 
voices were easier to hear since the mouths of the speak- 
ers were level with the window. A voice, a new one, said : 

" We must git now. Them boys of Mac's '11 be on their 
round soon." With a quick movement Marjory doubled 
under the window and came to me. She whispered as 
before : 

" Let us get behind trees in front. We may see them 
coming through the door, and it will be well to know 
them." So motioning to her to go on the side we were on, 
I slipped round the back, and turning by the other side of 
the chapel, and taking care to duck under the windows, 
hid myself behind one of the great oak trees in front, to 
the north of the original clearing. From where I stood I 
could see Marjory behind a tree across the glade. From 
where we were we could see any one who left the chapel ; 
for one or other of us commanded the windows, and we 
both commanded the ruined doorway. We waited, and 
waited, and waited, afraid to stir hand or foot lest we 
should give a warning to our foes. The time seemed 
interminable ; but no one came out and we waited on, not 
daring to stir. 

Presently I became conscious of two forms stealing be- 
tween the trees up towards the chapel. I glided further 
round behind my sheltering tree, and, throwing an anxious 
glance toward Marjory, was rejoiced to see that she was 
doing the same. Closer and closer the two forms came. 
There was not the faintest sound from them. Approach- 

Voices in the Dark 235 

ing the door-way from either side they peered in, listened, 
and then stole into the darkness between the tree trunks 
which marked the breach in the wall. I ventured out 
and slipped behind a tree somewhat nearer; Marjory on 
her side did the same, and at last we stood behind the two 
nearest trees and could both note the doorway and each of 
us the windows on one side. Then there was a whisper 
from within; somehow I expected to hear a pistol shot 
or to see a rush of men out through the jagged black 
of the doorway. Still nothing happened. Then a match 
was struck within. In the flash I could see the face of the 
man who had made the light the keen-eyed messenger of 
Sam Adams. He held up the light, and to our amazement 
we could see that, except for the two men whom we had 
seen go in, the chapel was empty. 

Marjory flitted over to me and whispered: 
" Don't be afraid. Men who light up like that aren't 
likely to stumble over us, if we are decently careful." 
She was right. The two men, seeing that the place was 
empty, seemed to cast aside their caution. They came out 
without much listening, stole behind the chapel, and set 
off along the narrow pathway through the wood. Mar- 
jory whispered to me: 

" Now is my chance to get in before they come back. 
You may come with me to the edge of the wood. When I 
get in, dear, go back home as fast as you can. You must 
be tired and want rest. Come to-morrow as soon as you 
can. We have lots to talk over. That chapel must be 
seen to. There is some mystery there which is bigger 
than anything we have struck yet. It's no use going 
into it now ; it wants time and thinking over ! " We were 
whispering as we walked along, still keeping carefully in 
the shadow of the trees. Behind the last tree Marjory 
kissed me. It was her own act, and as impulsively I 
clasped her tight in my arms, she nestled in to me as 

236 The Mystery of the Sea 

though she felt that she belonged there. With a mutual 
' good-night ' and a whispered blessing she stole away into 
the shadow. I saw her reach the door and disappear 
through it. 

I went back to Cruden with my mind in a whirl of 
thoughts and feelings. Amongst them love was first; 
with all the unspeakable joy which comes with love that 
is returned. 

I felt that I had a right to call Marjory my very own 
now. Our dangers and hopes and sympathies made a tie 
which seemed even closer than that tied in the church at 


FOR the remainder of that night, whether rushing 
home on my bicycle, preparing for rest, lying 
awake, or even in my sleep, I thought over the 
mystery of the disappearance of the speakers in the old 
chapel. Certainly I went to sleep on the thought, and 
woke with it. It never left me even after breakfast as I 
rode out towards Crom. It was manifest that there must 
be some secret vault or hiding place in the chapel; or it 
might be that there was some subterranean passage. If 
the latter, where did it lead to ? Where else, unless to the 
castle; such would be the natural inference. The very 
thought made my blood run cold ; it was no wonder that 
it overspread my mind to the exclusion of all else. In 
such case Marjory's enemies were indeed dangerous, since 
they held a secret way to her at all times; once within 
the castle it would not be hard to work evil to her. 

I thought that this morning I would do a little pros- 
pecting on my own account. Accordingly 1 left my bicy- 
cle in the wood and went a long circuit, keeping in the 
shadow of the woods where possible, and elsewhere steal- 
ing behind the hedgerows, till I got to the far side of the 
hill or spur which came nearest to the old chapel. This 
was one of the hills up whose base the trees ran in flame- 
shaped patches. Half way up, the woods ceased, and 
there was a belt of barrenness outcropping rock fringed 
with green grass. The top, like most of the hills or 


238 The Mystery of the Sea 

mounds around the castle, was covered with woods, close- 
growing masses of pine which made a dusk even in the 

I took my way up the back of the hill and stole through 
the wood, carefully keeping a watchful look out all round 
me, for I feared the presence of either of the sets of spies. 
At the very top I came upon a good sized circle of 
masonry, low but heavily built of massive stones com- 
pletely covered with rich green lichen. The circle was 
some fifteen feet diameter, and the top was slightly arched 
as though forming a roof. Leaning over it I could hear 
a faint trickle of water; this was evidently the source of 
the castle supply. 

I walked round it, examining it carefully; anything 
which had any direct communication with the castle was 
at present of possibly the supremest importance. There 
was no flaw or opening anywhere ; and from the unbroken 
covering of the stones by the lichen, it was apparent that 
there had been no disturbance for years. 

I sat down on the edge of the stonework and for a long 
time thought over matters of probability. If underneath 
me, as was almost to be taken for granted, lay the res- 
ervoir of the castle, it must have been made coevally 
with Crom itself, or even with the older castle on whose 
ruins it was built. It must be fed by springs in the rock 
which formed the base of the hill and cropped out all over 
it; and if it was not approachable from without, there 
must "be some way of reaching the water from within. 
It might be that the chamber which contained the reser- 
voir had some other entrance from the hill top, or from 
some lower level. Accordingly I made as I conceived a 
bee line for the castle, till I came to the very base of the 
hill, for I knew that in matters of water conduit the 
direct way is always chosen where work has to be done. 
As I went, I conned the ground carefully ; not merely the 

The Monument 239 

surface for that was an uniform thick coating of brown 
pine needles, but the general conformation. Where a 
trench has been made, there is ever after some trace of it 
to be found. Even if the workmen level the trench most 
carefully there and then, the percolation of rain through 
the softer broken earth will make discovery of the change 
by shrinkage. Here, however, there was no such sign; 
the ground, so far as one could judge, had never been 
opened. The trees grew irregularly, and there was no 
gap such as would be, had one ever been removed. Here 
and there particles of rock cropped out amongst the pine 
needles just as anywhere else. If any opening existed it 
was not on the direct line between the reservoir and the 

Back again I went to the reservoir, and, using it as a 
base, began to cast around for some opening or sign. I 
made circles in all directions, just as a retriever does 
when looking for a fallen partridge in a dry stubble when 
the scent is killed by heat. 

At last I came upon something, though whether or no 
it might have any point of contact with my purpose, I 
could not at once decide. It was a rude monument of 
some kind, a boulder placed endwise on a slab of rock 
roughly hewn to form a sort of square plinth. This again 
was surrounded on the outside, for the whole monument 
was on the very edge of a steeply-dipping crag, by a few 
tiers of rough masonry. The stones were roughly cut and 
laid together without mortar ; or if mortar or cement there 
had ever been, time and weather had washed it away. 
In one respect this structure was in contrast to that above 
the reservoir, there was not a sign of moss or lichen 
about it. The trees of the wood came close up behind it ; 
in front it was shut out from view below by the branches 
of a few pine trees which grew crookedly from a pre- 
carious foothold amongst the ledges of rock beneath. As 

240 The Mystery of the Sea 

I stood in front of it, I could see nothing immediately 
below me; however, when I had scrambled to a ledge a 
few feet lower down, the back wall of the old chapel 
became visible, though partly obscured by trunks and 
branches of intervening trees. I searched all over the 
monument for some inscription, but could see none. Then 
I stood on the plinth to see if there might be any inscrip- 
tion on the top of the boulder. As I stood, looking over 
the top of it from the bank, I could just see through a 
natural alleyway amongst the tree tops, the top of one 
corner of the castle, that on the side of, and farthest from 
the old chapel. As I looked, a bright thought struck me. 
Here was a place from which one might correspond with 
the castle, unseen by any one save at the one spot. 1 de- 
termined then and there, that Marjory and I should 
arrange some method of signalling to one another. 

Somehow this place impressed me, possibly because it 
was the only thing, except the reservoir, which seemed to 
have a purpose in the whole scheme of the hill top. 
Where there was labour and manifest purpose, there must 
surely be some connection. I examined all round the 
place minutely, scrambling down the rocks below and on 
either side, but always keeping a bright look out in case 
of spies. The only thing 1 noticed was that there seemed 
a trace of some kind of a pathway through the wood here. 
It was not sufficiently marked to allow one to accept it 
with certainty as a pathway; but there is something 
about a place which is even occasionally trodden, which 
marks it from its surroundings virgin of footsteps. I 
could not find where the path ended or where it began. 
It seemed to grow from the monument, but here under- 
foot was stone and hard gravel ; and the wind coming over 
the steep slope swept the fallen pine needles back amongst 
the shelter of the trees. After a few hundred yards any 
suggestion of a pathway disappeared, lost in the aisles of 

The Monument 241 

the pine trees spreading round on every side. There 
was no need of a pathway here where all was open. 
Once or twice as I searched the thought came to me that 
there might be some opening here to a secret way or 
hiding place; but look how I would, I could not find the 
faintest trace or suggestion of any opening. In the end 
I had to take it that the erection was merely a monument 
or mark of some kind, whose original purpose was proba- 
bly lost in time. 

At last, as the day was well on, I made my way back 
to where my bicycle was hidden, always taking care to 
keep from observation. Then emerging on the road, 
I went as usual through the old ruined gateway and 
the long winding avenue to the castle. 

Marjory met me with an anxious look, and hung on to 
my arm lovingly as she said : 

" Oh, you are late ! I have been quite nervous all the 
morning lest anything should have happened to you ! " 
Mrs. Jack, after we had greeted, discreetly left us alone ; 
and I told my wife of all that I had thought since we had 
parted, and of what I had seen on the hill top. She was 
delighted at the idea of a means of signalling ; and insisted 
on my coming at once to the roof to make further arrange- 
ments and discoveries. 

We found the spot which I had indicated admirably 
adapted for our purpose. One could sit on the stone roof, 
well back from the wall, and through one of the openings 
in the castellation see the top of the monument amongst 
the tree tops; and could yet be unobserved oneself from 
any other spot around. The angles of the castellation of 
the various walls shut out the tops of the other hills or 
mounds on every side. As the signs of our code were al- 
ready complete we had only to fix on some means of sig- 
nalling ' A ' and ' B '. This we did by deciding that by 
daylight A should be signified by red and B by white 


242 The Mystery of the Sea 

and at night A by red and B by green. Thus by daylight 
two pocket handkerchiefs of red and white or two flowers 
of white and red; or a piece of paper and a red leaf or 
flower would suffice. We fixed on colour as the best 
representative, as the distance made simplicity necessary. 
By night an ordinary bicycle lamp with the lens covered 
could be used ; the ordinary red and green side lights could 
be shown as required. Then and there we arranged that 
that very afternoon when I had left the castle I should 
steal back to the monument and we should make a trial of 
our signalling. 

Then we talked of other things. Alone there on the 
roof we could talk freely; and the moments flew swiftly 
by in a sweet companionship. Even if the subjects which 
we had to discuss were grim ones of danger and intrigue ; 
of secret passages and malignant enemies ; of spies and 
possibilities of harm to one or both of us, still mutuality of 
our troubles and dangers made their existence to us sweet. 
That we shared in common even such matters was dear 
to us both. I could not but be conscious of Marjory's 
growing love for me ; and if I had to restrain myself now 
and again from throwing my arms round her and pressing 
her beautiful body close to me and sweeping her face with 
kisses, I was repaid when, as we descended she put both 
her hands in mine and said : 

" Oh Archie ! you are good to me ! and and I love 
you so ! " Then she sank into my arms and our mouths 
met in a long, loving kiss. 

We decided that as there must be some hidden open- 
ing in the old chapel, we should make search for it the 
next day. I was to come soon after sunrise, for this 
we judged would be the time when the spies of both kinds 
would least expect movement from the castle. I was to 
come by the grass path between the trees into the old 

The Monument 243 

chapel where she would meet me and we should make 
our investigations together. 

After tea I came away. Marjory came out on the steps 
with me to see me off. As we bade each other good-bye 
she said aloud in case any one might be listening : 

" Remember, you are to come to tea to-morrow and to 
bring me the book. I am quite anxious to know how it 
ends. It is too bad of the librarian not to send us all 
the volumes at once ! " 

When I got to the road I hid my bicycle in the old 
place, and took my way secretly to the monument. Mar- 
jory had been much struck by the suggestion of the foot- 
path, and, woman-like, had made up her mind 011 the 
subject. She had suggested that we should test whether 
any one came or went by it, and to this end gave me a 
spool of the finest thread so that I might lay a trap. Be- 
fore I should leave the place I was to stretch threads 
across it here and there between the tree trunks. If on 
the next visit I should find them broken, we might take 
it that some one had been there. 

From the top of the boulder I made signal and was 
immediately answered. My own signal was simply the 
expression of my heart's feeling: 

" I love you, my wife ! " The answer came quickly 
back filling me with joy : 

" I love you, my husband ! Don't forget me ! Think of 


THAT night was one of rest. I was physically tired 
out, and after I had posted a few letters to mer- 
chants in Aberdeen, giving orders for various 
goods to be sent at once to Whinnyfold, I went to bed 
and slept till the early morning. I got up at daylight, and 
after my morning swim rode off to Crom. Again I 
left my bicycle in the wood and took my way round to 
the back of the hill and up through the wood to the 
monument beyond the reservoir. It was still early morn- 
ing, as it is counted in the cities, though the sun was well 
up. I went with extra caution, stealing from tree to 
tree; for I knew nothing of the locality of the watchers 
at this hour. I saw no sign of anyone ; and coming at last 
to where the rudimentary pathway lay, examined care- 
fully where I had placed the first thread. As I did so 1 
straightened myself quickly and looked round with appre- 
hension. The thread was broken across, though the two 
ends were tied where I had placed them ! 

With a beating heart I examined all the others in turn, 
with the same result. It was quite evident that some one, 
or some thing had passed along the track. In spite of 
my concern I rejoiced, for something had been found. It 
was at least probable that there was a regular route 
somewhere at hand. Accordingly I prepared my traps 
afresh, this time placing them in various directions, and 
at irregular distances along the path and all round the 


The Secret Passage 245 

monument. I might thus be able to trace the exact route 
of anyone who might disturb them. This done, and it 
took some time, I went back to the wood, and thence 
rode to the castle. 

Marjory was eager for news, but it thrilled me to see 
that her eagerness was not all from this cause; hour by 
hour I found myself growing in her affection. When I 
told her of the broken threads, she clapped her hands 
with delight; the hunter spirit hereditary in her was 
pleased. She gave her opinion that on the next morning 
I should be able to locate the entrance to the passage, if 
one there was. In the midst of her speaking thus she 
stopped ; a bright, keen light came into her eyes, and her 
brows knitted. 

" Why," she said, " how stupid I am. I never once 
thought of doing the same at my end. Yesterday, after 
you left, I spent an hour in the old chapel and went over 
every inch of it ; but it never occurred to me to do there 
what you had gone to do at the monument. If I had done 
so, I might this morning have been able to discover the 
secret of the disappearance of the kidnappers. I shall take 
good care to do it this evening." 

While she was speaking a fear grew upon me lest 
being alone in the ruin she might give her enemies the 
very opportunity they wanted. She saw my distress, and 
with her quick woman's wit guessed the cause of it. With 
a very tender movement she placed her hand on the back 
of mine, and without squeezing it held it there firmly as 
she said: 

" Don't be frightened for me, dear. These are expert 
workmen that we are dealing with. They won't move 
till their plans are all ready. They don't wish to get hold 
of me for five minutes and let " Mac's men " as lacking 
due respect for President McKinley, they call the Secret 
Service agents of my country catch them red-handed. 

246 The Mystery of the Sea 

They are only laying their plans as yet. Perhaps we may 
have cause to be anxious when that is done; but as yet 
it's all right. Anyhow, my dear, as I know it will make 
you easier in your mind, when you are not at hand to pro- 
tect me, I shall lay the traps whilst you are with me. 
There now! Am I good to my husband, or am I not? " 
I made her aware in my own way I could not help it 
that she was good! and she let the incident pass unre- 
buked. Even lovers, though they have not the status of 
the husband, must be allowed a little latitude now and 

We talked over all the possibilities that we could either 
of us think of with regard to a secret passage between 
the castle and the monument. It was apparent that in 
old time such a hidden way might have been of the utmost 
importance; and it was more than possible that such a 
passage might exist. Already we had reason to believe 
that there was a way between the ruined chapel and the 
top of the reservoir hill, and we knew that there must 
be existing some secret hiding place gained from the 
interior of the chapel. What we had still to discover, and 
this was the most important of all, was whether there 
was a method of communication between the castle and 
the chapel. After tea we started out together ; and as we 
had arranged between us before starting, managed in our 
strolling to go quite round the castle and through many of 
the grassy alleys between the woods. Then, lest there 
should be any listener, I said : 

" Let us go into the old chapel. I haven't had a good 
look at it since I have been coming here ! " So we went 
into the chapel and began to lay our traps. Of course we 
could not guard against any one spying upon us. There 
might be eyes of enemies bent on us through some secret 
chink or cranny or organised spy-hole. This we could not 
help, and had to take our chances of it ; but if anyone were 

The Secret Passage 247 

within ear-shot and unable to see us, we guarded our 
movements by our misleading remarks concerning his- 
tory and art. Deftly Marjorie stretched sections of her 
gossamer thread from place to place, so that if any one 
went in the chapel their course must be marked by the 
broken threads. We finished near the door, and our art- 
less, innocent, archaeological conversation stopped there, 
too. We strolled back to the castle, feeling sure that if 
there were any secret hiding place within the ruin we 
should have located the entrance to it in the morning. 

That afternoon I went to the house at Whinnyfold. 
Most of the things which I had ordered had arrived, and 
when I had had the various boxes and bundles moved 
inside I felt able to start on my work. 

First I rigged up a proper windlass over the hole into 
the cave; and fixed it so that any one could manipulate 
it easily and safely from above. It could be also worked 
from below by aid of an endless chain round the axle. 
I hammered the edges of the hole somewhat smoother, 
so that no chance friction might cut the rope; and I 
fixed candles and lanterns in various places, so that all 
the light which might be necessary could be had easily. 
Then I furnished a room with rugs and pillows, and with 
clothes for Marjory for changing. She would be sure to 
require such, when our search after the treasure should 
come off. 1 had ready some tins of provisions, and I had 
arranged at the hotel that as I might sometimes stay and 
work in my own home I was supposed to be an author 
some fresh provisions were to be sent over each morning, 
and left ready for me with Mrs. Hay at Whinnyfold. By 
the time my work was through, it was late in the evening, 
and I went to the hotel to sleep. I had arranged with 
Marjory to be with her early in the morning. It was 
hardly daylight when I woke, but I got up at once and 
took my way towards Crom, for the experience of the 

248 The Mystery of the Sea 

day before had shown me that whoever used the path near 
the monument used it in the grey of the dawn. As usual 
I hid my bicycle and took my way cautiously to the 
monument. By this time the sun was up and the day was 
bright; the dew lay heavy, and when I came on any of 
my threads I could easily distinguish them by the shim- 
mering beads which made each thread look like a minia- 
ture rope of diamonds. 

Again the strings across the path were broken. My 
heart beat heavily as I began to follow back towards the 
monument the track of the broken thread. It led right up 
to it, on the side away from the castle, and then stopped. 
The other threads all round the monument were intact. 
Having learned so much, my first act was to prevent 
discovery of my own plan. Accordingly I carefully re- 
moved all the threads, broken and unbroken. Then I 
began to make minute investigation of the monument 
itself. As it was evident that whoever had broken the 
threads had come straight from it, there was a presump- 
tion that there was an opening somewhere. The rock 
below was unbroken and the stonework was seemingly 
fixed on the rock itself. By a process of exclusions I 
came to the belief that possibly the monument itself might 
be moveable. 

Accordingly I began to experiment. I pressed against 
it, this way and that. I tried to move it by exercising 
pressure top and bottom in turn; but always without 
avail. Then I began to try to move it sideways as though 
it might be on a pivot. At first there was no yielding, no 
answer of any kind to my effort ; but suddenly 1 thought 
I perceived a slight movement. I tried again and again, 
using my strength in the same way; but with no result. 
Then I tried turning it in the suspected direction, hold- 
ing both my hands low down on the corners of the 
boulder; then going gradually up higher I pursued the 

The Secret Passage 249 

same effort ; again no response. Still I felt I was on the 
track and began to make efforts in eccentric ways. All at 
once, whilst I was pressing with my left hand low down 
whilst I pulled with my right high up on the other edge, 
the whole great stone began to move in a slow easy way, as 
though in perfect poise. I continued the movement and 
the stone turned lazily over on one side, revealing at my 
very feet a dark opening of oval form some three feet 
across its widest part. Somehow I was not altogether 
surprised ; my head kept cool in what was to me a won- 
derful way. With an impulse which was based on safety, 
lest the opening of the hole should make discovery of my 
presence, I reversed the action ; and the stone rolled slowly 
over to its old position. Several times I moved it from 
its place and then back again, so that I might become ac- 
customed to its use. 

For a while I hesitated as to whether I should explore 
the opening immediately ; but soon came to the conclusion 
that I had better begin at once. So I went back to my 
bicycle and took the lamp with me. I had matches in my 
case, and as I had the revolver which I always carried 
now, I felt equal to any emergency. 1 think I was finally 
influenced in my decision to attempt the passage at once 
by the remembrance of Marjory's remark that the kid- 
nappers would make no effort until their plans were quite 
complete. They, more than I, might fear discovery; and 
on this hope I was strong as I lowered myself down 
through the narrow opening. I was glad to see that there 
was no difficulty in moving the stone from the inside; 
there were two iron handles let into the stone for the 

I cannot say I was at ease in my mind, I was, however, 
determined to go on ; and with a prayer to God for protec- 
tion, and a loving thought of Marjory, I went on my way. 

The passage was doubtless of natural origin, for it was 

250 The Mystery of the Sea 

evident that the seams in the rock were much like those on 
the coast where the strata of different geological forma- 
tions joined. Art had, however improved the place won- 
derfully. Where the top had come too low it had been 
quarried away; the remnants still lay adjacent where the 
cave broadened out. The floor where the slope was steep 
was cut into rough steps. Altogether, there were signs of 
much labour in the making of the passage. As I went 
down, 1 kept an eye on the compass whenever I came to a 
turn, so that I might have a rough idea of the direction 
in which I was going. In the main the road, with coun- 
terbalancing curves and angles, led straight down. 

When I had got to what I considered must be half way, 
allowing for the astounding magnitude which seems to 
be the characterisation of even a short way under ground ; 
the passage forked, and at a steep angle another passage, 
lower and less altered than that along which I had come, 
turned away to the left. Going a few feet up it I could 
hear the sound of running water. 

This was evidently the passage to the reservoir. 


AS I felt that time, in which I had the passage all 
to myself, was precious, 1 turned back to the 
main way down. The path was very steep and 
low and the rock underfoot was cut in rude steps; as I 
held the lantern before me I had to droop it so that I 
could smell the hot metal where the flame touched the 
back. It was indeed a steep and difficult way, made for 
others than men of my own stature. As I went, I felt 
my first fears passing away. At first I had dreaded a 
lack of air, and all sorts of horrors which come to those 
who essay unknown passages. There came back to my 
recollection passages in Belzoni's explorations in the 
Pyramids when individuals had got lost, and when whole 
parties were stopped by the first to advance jamming in 
a narrow passage as he crawled along on his belly. Here, 
though the roof came down in places dangerously low, 
there was still ample room, and the air came up sweet 
and cool. To any one unused to deep burrows, whether 
the same be natural or artificial, there is a dread of being 
underground. One is cut off from light and air; and 
burial alive in all its potential horrors is always at hand. 
However, the unexpected clearness and easiness of the 
way reassured me; and I descended the steep passage 
with a good heart. All distance underground seems 
extravagantly long to those unaccustomed to it; and to 
me the mere depth I had descended seemed almost im- 
possible when the way before me became somewhat level 


252 The Mystery of the Sea 

again. At the same time the roof rose so that I could 
stand upright. I guessed that I must be now somewhere 
at the foot of the hillock and not far from the old chapel ; 
so I went forward carefully, keeping my hand ready to 
cover up the front of the lamp. As the ground was fairly 
level, I could in a way pace it; and as I knew that there 
was only about two hundred feet distance from the foot 
of the hill to the chapel, I was not surprised when after 
some eighty paces I found the passage end in a sort of 
rude chamber cut in the rock. At right angles to the place 
of my entry there was a regular stairway, partly cut in 
rock and partly built, leading upward. Before I ascended 
I looked around carefully and could see that sections of 
the walls of the chamber were built of great blocks of 
stone. Leaving further investigation for the future I 
went upward with a beating heart. 

The stair was rudely circular, and I had counted thirty 
steps when I saw the way blocked by a great stone. 
For a few seconds I was in fear lest I should find this, 
impossible; then I looked carefully for any means of 
moving the obstacle. I thought it more than likely that 
something of the same process would be adopted for 
both ends of the passage. 

Luck was certainly on my side to-day ! Here were two 
iron handles, much the same as those with which I had 
been enabled to move the monument from within. I 
grasped them firmly, and began to experiment as to which 
way the stone moved. It trembled under my first effort ; 
so exerting a very little of my strength in the same di- 
rection the great stone began to move. I saw a widening 
line of open space through which a dim light shone in 
upon me. Holding the stone in poise with one hand, I 
covered the front of the lamp with my cap, and then re- 
sumed the opening process. Slowly, slowly, the stone 
rolled back till a clear way. lay abreast of me through 

Marjory's Adventure 253 

which, doubled up, I could pass. From where I stood 
I could see part of the wall of a building, a wall with 
long low windows in massive stone; and I knew that at 
last I had reached the old chapel. A joyous feeling 
rushed over me; after the unknown perils of the cavern 
passage at last I had reached safety. I bent low and 
began to step out through the narrow opening. There 
was fully four feet in the circumference of the stone 
so that two such steps as were possible to me were neces- 
sary to take me out. I had taken one and my foot was 
lifted for the second when a clear firm voice said in a 
whisper : 

" Hands up ! If you move you are a dead man ! " I 
stopped of course, and raising my face, for my head 
was bent low in the necessary effort of stooping, I found 
myself opposite the muzzle of a revolver. For an instant 
I looked at it; it was firm as the rock around me, and 
I felt that I must obey. Then I looked beyond it, to the 
hand which held it, and the eyes which directed. These 
too were inflexible ; but a great joy came over me when I 
recognised that the hand and eyes were those of Mar- 
jory. I would have sprung forward to her, but for that 
ominous ring of steel in front of me. I waited a few 
seconds, for it seemed strange that she did not lower the 
revolver on seeing who it was. As, however, the pistol 
still covered me unpleasantly, I said: 

" Marjory ! " In an instant her hand dropped to her 
side. I could not but notice with an admiration for her 
self-control and the strength of her resolution, that she 
still held the revolver in her grasp. With a glad cry 
she leaped towards me with a quick impulsive movement 
which made my heart bound, for it was all love and spon- 
taneity. She put her left hand on my shoulder; and as 
she looked into my eyes I could feel the glad tremor that 
swept through her. 

254 The Mystery of the Sea 

For several seconds she stood, and then with a sigh 
said in a voice of self-reproach : 

" And / did not know you!" The way she spoke the 
words " I " " you " was luminous ! Had I not already 
known her heart, she would in that moment have stood 

We were manifestly two thoroughly practical people, 
for even in the rapture of our meeting to me it was 
no less than rapture to come from so grim an aperture in 
the secret cavern passage we had our wits about us. 
I think she was really the first to come to a sense of 
our surroundings; for just as I was opening my mouth 
to speak she held up a warning finger. 

" Hush ! Some one may come ; though I think there 
is no one near. Wait dear, whilst I look ! " she seemed 
to flit noiselessly out of the doorway and I saw her 
vanish amongst the trees. In a few minutes she returned 
carrying carefully a wicker basket. As she opened it 
she said: 

" Some one might suspect something if they saw you 
in that state." She took from the basket a little bowl of 
water, soap, towel and a clothes-brush. Whilst I washed 
my face and hands she was brushing me down. A very 
short time completed a rough toilet. Then she poured 
the water carefully into a crack in the wall, and putting 
the things together with my lamp, back in the basket, 
she said: 

" Come now ! Let us get to the Castle before any one 
finds us. They will think that I have met you in the 
wood." We went as unobtrusively as we could to the 
Castle; and entered, I think, unobserved. I had a 
thorough clean up before I let any one see me; our 
secret was too precious to risk discovery by suspicion. 
When I had seen Mrs. Jack, Marjory took me to her 
boudoir in the top of the castle, and there, whilst she sat 

Marjory's Adventure 255 

by me holding my hands, I told her every detail of my 
adventure. 1 could feel how my story moved her; when 
there was any passage of especial interest the pressure of 
her clasp grew tense. She, who had seemingly no fear 
for herself, was all in fear for me ! 

Then we talked matters over. We had now a good clue 
to the comings and goings of the kidnappers; and we 
felt that by a little thoughtful organisation we might 
find their hours, and be able to trace them one by one. 
By lunch time we had decided on our plan of action. We 
took our idea from one of the old " Tales of the Genii " 
where the conquered king was brought by his faithful 
vizier into a cavern and asked to cut a rope which was 
stretched before him, and which he soon discovered re- 
leased the great rock which roofed the pavilion specially 
built by the vizier to be seen and occupied by the con- 
queror. We would fix a fine thread to the top of the 
monument and bring it secretly to the castle, where its 
breaking would apprise Marjory of the opening of the 
passage ; thus she would discover the hour of the coming 
of the kidnappers to the chapel. We arranged another in- 
genious device, whereby a second thread, fastened to the 
stone in the old chapel, would be broken by the opening 
of the stone, and would cause a book to fall on Marjory's 
bed and wake her if she were asleep. The better part 
of the afternoon was taken up by us carrying out these 
ideas, for we went slowly and cautiously to work. Then 
I went home. 

I was early at the monument in the morning, and get- 
ting behind the stone signalled to the Castle roof in case 
Marjory should happen to expect me and be there. But 
there was no answer. So I sat down to wait till it would 
be decent time to go to the Castle for an early breakfast. 

As I sat waiting I thought I heard a sound, either close 
to me and muffled, or else distant; I could hardly tell 

256 The Mystery of the Sea 

which. Matters might be lively if I were discovered ; so 
I got my revolver ready. With my heart beating so 
heavily that I mistook it at moments for the foreign 
sound, I listened and listened, all ears. 

It was as I had suspected; the sound came from the 
tunnel beneath me. I hardly knew whether to stay or 
go. If I waited I could see who came from the open- 
ing; but on the other hand I should at once be known to 
have discovered the secret. Still as the stone might roll 
back at any moment, it was necessary that I should make 
up my mind; I should either go or stay. I decided that 
I would stay and make discovery at once. In any case 
should I succeed in capturing a blackmailer, or even in 
discovering or partially discovering his identity, 1 should 
be aiding in Marjory's safety. So I got my revolver 
ready ; and standing back so that I could not be seen at 
once by any one emerging, waited. 

No one came; but I could still hear a slight sound. 
Filled with a growing unrest, I determined to take the 
initiative, and began to move close to the stone. As I 
looked, it began to quiver, and then to move slowly. As 
it rolled softly back I kept behind it so that I might not 
be seen; and waited with revolver ready and what pa- 
tience I could. 

There was dead silence ; and then a hand holding a re- 
volver rested a moment on the edge of the opening. 

I knew the hand, and I knew the revolver, and 1 knew 
the quickness of both. I did not say a word or make a 
sound, till Marjory with an alert movement seemed to 
sweep up out of the opening and whirled round with 
ready pistol, as though suspecting an enemy on every 

Marjory, all covered with dust, her cheeks as white as 
snow, so that the smears of dust lay on them like soot; 
and eyes with pupils distended as in coming from the 

Marjory's Adventure 257 

dark. For a few seconds she seemed hardly to recognise 
me ; but when she did she sprang gladly into my arms. 

" Oh ! Archie, I am glad to see you. It was so terrible 
and lonely in the dark. I began to fear I might never find 
my way out ! " In the dark ! I began to fear, and asked 

" But, dear one, how did you come; and why? Hadn't 
you got a light with you? Surely you didn't come un- 
prepared, if you did venture into the cave ! " Then in a 
rush she told me the whole story. How before dawn she 
had been waked by the dropping of the book and had 
hurried to the castle roof to watch the stone. With her 
field glass she had presently seen it move. She was then 
satisfied that the watchers had gone home; and had de- 
termined on a little adventure on her own account. 

" I put on a grey tweed dress, and taking my revolver 
and bicycle lamp, stole out of the castle and reached the 
old chanel. Having lit my lamp, 1 rolled back the stone 
and set out to explore the tunnel. I followed from your 
description, the passage to its bifurcating, and determined 
to explore the other arm to the reservoir. I easily found 
it, a deep, dark tank cut in the rock and seemingly fed 
by springs which bubbled up from patches of fine sand, 
the accumulation of years of wasting rock. Whilst I 
was trying to look into the depth of the reservoir, hold- 
ing my bicycle lamp so as to throw its light downwards, 
I saw something white at the bottom. Just then the 
lamp from iia inverted position began to smoke, but as I 
looked in that last moment through the crystal pure 
water I recognised that the white object was a skull. In 
the sudden shock of the discovery, the lamp dropped 
from my hand and disappeared hissing and bubbling in 
the last flicker of light." As she told me this, I took her 
hand for I feared that the memory of such an appalling 
moment must have unnerved her; but to my surprise 


258 The Mystery of the Sea 

her nerves were as firm as my own. She let her hand 
remain in mine; but she had evidently understood my 
thought for she said: 

"Oh! it's all right now, Archie. For a moment or 
two I do believe 1 was frightened. You can have the 
laugh on me there if you like ! But then common sense 
came to my aid. I was in a tight place, and it would 
need all I knew to get out. I thought the matter over as 
coolly as I could ; and do you know that coolness seemed 
to grow with the effort! I was in the dark, in a cave, 
deep underground, the entrance to which was secret; I 
had no means of getting a light even for an instant, for 
though I had taken plenty of wax matches they were all 
in my lamp. The only thing I could do was to try to 
grope my way out. I had noted the passage as I came 
along, but I found so soon as I had felt my way out of the 
reservoir chamber, how little use an abstract recollection 
is when every second there is a new detail. I found, too, 
the astonishing difference between sight and touch ; what 
I had remembered had been with my eyes and not with 
my fingers. I had to guard all round me, my head, 
my feet, my sides. I am amazed, now when I think of it, 
how many different kinds of mistakes and calculations I 
made in a few yards. It seemed a terribly long time 
till I came to the place where the passage forks. There 
I weighed up the matter of whether it would be better 
to go back by the way I had come to the old chapel, or 
to go up the other passage to the monument of which 
you told me. Somehow the latter seemed to me the 
more feasible. I think it must have been that I trusted 
you more than myself. You had not shrunk from going 
into that passage; and I would not shrink from going 

I squeezed her hands hard, I had got both by this time. 
She blushed a little and looked at me fondly and went on : 

Marjory's Adventure 259 


" THere was something cheering in the mere fact of 
going up instead of down. It was like coming towards 
the air and light again; and the time did not seem so 
long till I came to the end of the passage, for so far as 
I could feel there was nothing but solid rock all round 
me. For a little bit my heart sank again; but I soon 
bucked up. I knew that this must be the way out; 
and I felt around for the iron handles of which you had 
told me. And then, Thank God for His goodness ! when 
the stone began to turn I saw the light, and breathed 
fresh air again. They seemed to give me back all my 
courage and caution. Up to this I had not troubled 
about kidnappers; there was quite enough to think of 
in getting along the passage. But now I was my own 
woman again, and I determined to take no chances. 
When I saw it was your gun that was aimed at me I was 


AFTER a little consideration of ways and means, 
we decided that the best thing we could do 
was to pass through the passage to the old 
chapel. It was still very early, so early that in all proba- 
bility none of the household were yet awake ; if Marjory 
could regain her room before being seen, it would avoid 
curiosity. She was certainly in a shocking condition 
of dust and dishevelment. Her groping in the dark 
through that long rugged passage had not been accom- 
plished without many hardships. Her dress was torn in 
several places, and her hat was simply knocked to pieces ; 
even her hair was tumbled about, and had been put up 
again and again with dusty fingers. She saw me smiling ; 
1 think it pained her a little for she suddenly said : 

" Come along quick ; it's simply awful standing here 
in the light of day in this filthy state. It won't feel half so 
bad in the dark passage ! " Without more ado I lit my 
lamp, and having, of course, closed the entrance behind us, 
we went back into the cavern. 

The tramp back through the tunnel did not seem nearly 
so long or so difficult as at first. It may have been that 
comparative familiarity made it easier; it certainly eased 
its terrors. Or it is possible that our companionshp, each 
to the other, made the bearing of fears and difficulties 

Anyhow, it was something of a surprise to both of us 
to find ourselves so quickly in the rude chamber whence 


The Lost Script 261 

the steps led up to the old chapel. Before we left this, we 
made a rough examination of it, turning the lantern over 
walls and floor and ceiling; for I had an idea that the 
passage from the castle, which I was satisfied must exist, 
made its exit here. We could not, however, see any ex- 
ternal sign of an opening; the walls were built up of 
massive unmortared stones, and were seemingly as solid 
as the rock itself. 

When we got into the chapel we found the utility of 
Marjory's foresight. In a corner was her little basket 
with soap and towel, water and clothes brush; and to- 
gether we restored her to some semblance of decency. 
Then she went back to the castle and got in unobserved, as 
I, watching from the shelter of the trees, could see. I 
took my way back through the passage; and so to the 
wood where my bicycle was hidden. I washed my hands 
in the stream and lay down in the shelter of a thick 
grove of hazel, where I slept till breakfast time. When 
I rode up to the castle, I found Marjory with her kodak 
on the sweep outside, taking views of its various points. 

The morning was intensely hot ; and here, in the shelter 
of the little valley and the enclosing wood, the air was 
sultry, and the sun beat down pitilessly. We had a table 
set out under the shelter of the trees and breakfasted 
al fresco. 

When we were alone in her boudoir I settled with 
Marjory that we would on that evening attempt to find 
the treasure, as the tide would be out at midnight. So 
we went down to the library and got out Don de Esco- 
ban's narrative and began to read it afresh, noting as 
we went every word and sign of the secret writing, in 
the hope that we might in thus doing stumble on some 
new secret or hidden meaning. 

Whilst we were thus engaged a servant came looking 
for Mrs. Jack, for whom a stranger had brought a letter. 

262 The Mystery of the Sea 

Marjory told where she might be found, and for some 
time we went on with our work. 

Suddenly the door opened, and Mrs. Jack entered, 
speaking over her shoulder as she came to a high-bred 
looking, dark man who followed her. As she saw us 
she stopped and said to Marjory: 

" Oh ! my dear, I didn't know you were here. I thought 
you were in the ladies' room." This was what they 
usually called the big room at the top of the castle. We 
both rose, seeing a stranger. For my own part there 
was something in his face which set me thinking; as to 
Marjory I could not help noticing that she drew herself 
up to her full height, and held herself at tension in that 
haughty way which now and again marked her high 
spirit and breeding. There seemed so little cause for this 
attitude that my own thinking of the new-comer was 
lost in the contemplation of hers. Mrs. Jack noticed 
that there was some awkwardness, and spoke hurriedly: 

" This is the gentleman, my dear, that the agent wrote 
about ; and as he wanted to look over the house I brought 
him myself." The stranger probably taking his cue 
from her apologetic tone spoke: 

" I trust I have not disturbed the Senora ; if I have, 
pardon! I have but come to renew my memory of a 
place, dear to me in my youth, and which through the 
passing of time and of some who were, is now my own 
heritage." Marjory smiled, and swept him a curtsey as 
she said, but still in her distant arm's-length manner : 

" Then you are the owner of the castle, sir. I hope that 
we do not disturb you. Should you wish to be anywhere 
alone we shall gladly withdraw and wait your pleasure." 
He raised a hand of eloquent protest, a well-kept, gentle- 
man's hand, as he said in tones sweet and deferent: 

" Oh ! I pray you, do not stir. May I say that when 
my house is graced with the presence of so much loveli- 

The Lost Script 263 

ness I am all too full of gratitude to wish for any change. 
I shall but look around me, for I have a certain duty to 
do. Alas ! this my heritage comes not only as a joy, but 
with grave duties which I must fulfill. Well I know this 
room. Many a time as a boy I have sat here with my 
kinsman, then so old and distant from me in my race; 
and yet I am his next successor. Here has he told me 
of old times, and of my race of which we who have the 
name are so proud ; and of the solemn duty which might 
some day come to me. Could I but tell . 
Here he stopped suddenly. 

His eyes had been wandering all over the room, up 
and down the bookshelves, and at the few pictures which 
the walls contained. When they rested on the table, a 
strange look came into them. Here lay the type-script 
which we had been reading, and the secret writing of the 
dotted printing. It was on the latter that his eyes were 
fixed absorbingly. 

" Where did you get that ? " he said suddenly, pointing 
to it. The question in its bald simplicity was in word 
rude, but his manner of asking it was so sweet and defer- 
ential that to me it robbed it of all offence. I was just 
about to answer when my eye caught that of Marjory, 
and I paused. There was such meaning in her eyes that 
my own began roving- to find the cause of it. As 1 looked 
she put her hands on the table before her, and her fingers 
seemed to drum nervously. To me, however, it was no 
nervous trifling; she was speaking to me in our own 

" Be careful ! " she spelled out " there is some mystery ! 
Let me speak." Then turning to the stranger she said : 

""It is curious is it not?" 

" Ah, Senora, though curious it be in itself, it is nothing 
to the strangeness of its being here. If you only knew 
how it had been searched for; how the whole castle 

264 The Mystery of the Sea 

had been ransacked from roof to dungeon to find it, 
and always without avail. Did you but understand the 
import of that paper to me and mine if indeed the sur- 
mises of many generations of anxious men availed aught 
you would pardon my curiosity. In my own youth I as- 
sisted in a search of the whole place; no corner was left 
untouched, and even the secret places were opened 
afresh." As he went on, Marjory's eyes were resting 
on his face unflinchingly, but her fingers were spelling 
out comments to me. 

" There are secret places, then ; and he knows them. 
Wait" the stranger went on: 

" See, I shall convince you that I speak from no idle 
curiosity, but from a deep conviction of a duty that was 
mine and my ancestors' for ages." There was a stern- 
ness mingled with his grave sweetness now; it was evi- 
dent that he was somewhat chagrined or put out by our 
silence. Leaving the table he went over to one of the 
bookshelves, and after running his eye over it for a mo- 
ment, put his hand up and from a shelf above his head 
took down a thick leather-covered volume. This he 
laid on the table before us. It was a beautiful, old black 
letter law book, with marginal notes in black letter and 
headings in roman type. The pagination was, I could see 
as he turned it over, by folios. He turned to the title- 
page, which was an important piece of printing in many 
types, explanatory of the matter of the book. He began 
to read the paragraphs, placed in the triangular in form 
in vogue at that day; following the text with his fore- 
finger he read : 

" A collection in English of the Statutes now in force, 
continued from the beginning of Magna Charta made in 
the 9. yeere of the reigne of King H. 3. until the ende 
of the Session of Parliament holden in the 28 yeere of 
the reigne of our gracious Queene Elizabeth under Titles 

The Lost Script 265 

placed by order of Alphabet. Wherein is performed 
(touching the Statutes wherewith Justices of the Peace 
have to deale) so much as was promised in the Booke 
of their office lately published. For which purpose " 
&c. &c., Then turning over the page he pointed to a 
piece of faded writing on the back of it which had been 
left blank of printing. We bent down and read in the 
ink, faded to pale brown by time: 

" My sonnes herein you will find the law which binds 
the stranger in this land, wherein a stranger is a Vaga- 
bond. F. de E. 


Then he turned rapidly over the leaves, till towards 
the end there was a gap. On the right hand page, where 
the folio number was all along placed was the number 

" See," he said, turning back and pointing to the bottom 
of the title page " Anno 1588. Three hundred years, 
since first my people used it." 

Turning back he looked at the folio before the gap; 
it was 510. "See" he said, placing his hand on the 
pinmarked pages. " Folio 511 and the heading of " Vaga- 
bonds, Beggars, et cetera." He folded his arms in a digni- 
fied way and stood silent. 

All along I had been following my own train of 
thought, even whilst I had been taking in the stranger's 
argument, and at the same time noting Marjory's warn- 
ing. If this man who owned the Castle knew of the ex- 
istence of the secret writing ; whose ancestors had owned 
the book in which was the clue signed F. de E., surely 
then this could be none other than the descendant of the 
Don Bernardino who had hidden the treasure. This 
was his castle ; no wonder that he knew its secret ways. 

Matters were getting complicated. If this man were. 

266 The Mystery of the Sea 

now the hereditary guardian of the hidden treasure and 
from his likeness to the ghostly Spaniard whom I had 
seen in the procession at Whinnyfold I saw no reason to 
doubt it he might be an enemy with whom we should 
have to cope. I was all in a whirl, and for a few seconds 
I think quite lost my head. Then rushed over me the 
conviction that the mere lapse of time passed in these 
few minutes of agonised silence was betraying our secret. 
This brought me up with a round turn, and I looked 
about me. The strange man was standing still as 
marble; his face was set, and there was no sign of life 
in him except his eyes which blazed as they wandered 
around, taking everything in. Mrs. Jack saw that there 
was something going on which she did not understand, 
and tried to efface herself. Marjory was standing by 
the table, still, erect and white. Her fingers began to 
drum softly as she caught my eye, and spelled out : 

" Give him the paper, from Mrs. Jack. Lately found 
in old oak chest. Say nothing of interpretation." This 
seemed such a doubtful move that with my eyes I queried 
it. She nodded in reply. So I gathered myself together 
and said: 

" I'm afraid, sir, that there is some mystery here which 
I cannot undertake to understand. I think I may say, 
however, for my friend Mrs. Jack, that there will be no 
trouble in your having full possession of your book. I 
am told that these pages were lately found in an old oak 
chest. It is remarkable that they should have been miss- 
ing so long. We were attracted by the funny marks. We 
thought that there might be some sort of cryptogram; 
and I suppose I may take it, from the fact of your looking 
for them so long, that this is so ? " 

He grew suspicious in a moment, and stiffened all over. 
Marjory saw, and appreciated the reason. She smiled at 
me with her eyes as she drummed on the table: 

The Lost Script 267 

" The herring is across his path ! " As the awkward 
pause was this time with the stranger, we waited with 
comparative ease. I saw with a feeling of wonder that 
there was, through all her haughtiness, a spice of malice in 
Marjory's enjoyment of his discomfiture. I looked at 
Mrs. Jack and said : " May I give these papers to Mr. 
" She answered promptly : 

" Why cert'nly ! If Mr. Barnard wants them." Mar- 
jory turned round suddenly and in a surprised voice 

"Mr. Barnard?" 

" That is the name given in the letter which he brought, 
my dear ! " The stranger at once spoke out : 

" I am Mr. Barnard here ; but in my own country I am 
of an older name. I thank you, sir, and Madam " turn- 
ing to Mrs. Jack " for your courteous offer. But it will 
be time enough for me to consider the lost pages when 
through the unhappiness of your departure from my 
house, I am enabled to come hither to live. In the mean- 
time, all I shall ask is that the pages be replaced in this 
book and that it be put in its place on the shelf where none 
shall disturb it." As he spoke in his sweet, deferential 
way there was something in his look or manner which 
did not accord with his words ; a quick eager shifting of 
his eyes, and a breathing hard which were at variance 
with his words of patience. I did not pretend, however, 
to notice it; I had my own game to play. So without a 
word I placed the pages carefully in the book and put 
the latter back on the shelf from which he had taken it. 
There was an odd look in Marjory's face which 1 did 
not quite understand ; and as she gave me no clue to her 
thoughts by our sign language, I waited. Looking at 
the stranger haughtily, and with a distinctly militant 
expression she said: 

" The agent told us that the Barnard family owned 

268 The Mystery of the Sea 

this castle ! " He bowed gravely, but a hot, angry flush 
spread over his face as he replied : 

" He spoke what truth he knew." Marjory's reply 
came quickly : 

" But you say you are one of the family, and the very 
memorandum you pointed out was signed F. de E." 
Again the hot flush swept his face; but passed in an in- 
stant, leaving him as pale as the dead. After a pause 
of a few moments he spoke in a tone of icy courtesy : 

" I have already said, Senora, that in this country our 
name my name, is Barnard. A name taken centuries 
ago when the freedom of the great land of England was 
not as now; when tolerance for the stranger was not. 
In my own land, the land of my birth, the cradle of my 
race, I am called Don Bernardino Yglesias Palealogue y 
Santordo y Castelnuova de Escoban, Count of Minurca 
and Marquis of Salvaterra ! " As he rehearsed his titles 
he drew himself up to his full height; and pride of race 
seemed actually to shine or emanate from him. Marjory, 
too, on her side of the table drew herself up proudly as 
she said in a voice in which scorn struggled for mastery 
with dignity: 

" Then you are a Spaniard 1 " 


THE stranger held himself with, if possible, greater 
hauteur as he answered: 
" I have that great honour." 

" And I, sir/' said Marjory, with a pride rivalling his 
own, " am an American ! " Issue was joined. 

For a period which from its strain seemed very long, 
though it was probably but a few seconds, they stood 
facing each other; types of the two races whose deadly 
contest was then the interest of the world. The time 
was at any rate sufficiently long for me to consider the 
situation, and to admire the types. It would have been 
hard to get a better representative of either, of the Latin 
as well as of the Anglo-Saxon. Don Bernardino, with 
his high aquiline nose and black eyes of eagle keenness, 
his proud bearing and the very swarthiness which told of 
Moorish descent, was, despite his modern clothes, just 
such a picture as Velasquez would have loved to paint, or 
as Fortuny might have made to live again. 

And Marjory! She looked like the spirit of her free 
race, incarnate. The boldness of her pose; her free 
bearing; her manifest courage and self belief; the ab- 
sence of either prudery or self-consciousness; her pic- 
turesque, noble beauty, as with set white face and flashing 
eyes she faced the enemy of her country, made a vision 
never to be forgotten. Even her racial enemy had un- 
consciously to fall into admiration; and through it the 


270 The Mystery of the Sea 

dominance of his masculine nature spoke. His words 
were gracious, and the easy gracefulness of their delivery 
was no less marked because the calm was forced : 

" Our nations alas ! Senora are at war ; but surely not 
even the courtesies of the battlefield need be strained 
when individuals, even of the most loyal each to their 
own, meet on neutral soil ! " It was evident that even 
Marjory's quick wit did not grasp at a suitable reply. 
The forgiveness of enemies is not the strong point of any 
woman's nature, or of her education. The only remark 
she made was to again repeat: 

" 1 am an American! " The Spaniard felt the strength 
of his position; again his masculinity came out in his 
reply : 

" And all good women, as well as all men, should be 
loyal to their Flag. But oh Senora, before even your na- 
tionality comes your sex. The Spanish nation does not 
make war on women ! " He seemed really to believe what 
he said; for the proud light in his face could not have 
been to either a dastard or a liar. I confess it was with 
a shock that I heard Marjory's words : 

" In the reconcentrados were as many women as men. 
More, for the men were fighting elsewhere ! " The pas- 
sionate, disdainful sneer on her lips gave emphasis to the 
insult ; and blood followed the stab. A red tide rushed to 
the Spaniard's swarthy face, over forehead and ears and 
neck ; till, in a moment of quick passion of hate, he seemed 
as if bathed in red light. 

And then in truth I saw the very man of my vision at 

Marjory, womanlike, feeling her superiority over the 
man's anger, went on mercilessly: 

" Women and children herded together like beasts ; 
beaten, starved, tortured, mocked at, shamed, murdered! 
Oh ! it is a proud thought for a Spaniard, that when the 

Don Bernardino 271 

men cannot be conquered, even in half a century of furi- 
ous oppression, their baffled foes can wreak their ven- 
geance on the helpless women and children ! " 

The Spaniard's red became white; a deathly pallor 
which looked grey in the darkened room. With his 
coldness came the force of coldness, self-command. I 
had a feeling that in those few moments of change had 
come to him some grim purpose of revenge. It was 
borne in upon me by flashes of memory and instinct that 
the man was of the race and class from which came the 
rulers and oppressors of the land, the leaders of the 
Inquisition. Eyes like his own, burning in faces of 
deathly white, looked on deeds of torture, whose very 
memory after centuries can appal the world. But with all 
his passion of hate and shame he never lost the instinct 
of his dignity, or his grace of manner. One could not 
but feel that even when he struck to kill he would strike 
with easeful grace. Something of the feeling was in his 
speech, perhaps in the manner rather than the words, 
when after a pause he said : 

" For such foul acts I have nought but indignation and 
grief; though in the history of a nation such things 
must be. It is the soldier's duty to obey; even though 
his heart revolt. I have memory of hearing that even 
your own great nation has exercised not so much care as 
might be " how he sneered with polished sarcasm as he 
turned the phrase " in the dealing with Indians. Nay 
more, even in your great war, when to kill was fratricidal, 
there were hardships to the conquered, even to the help- 
less women and children. Have I not heard that one 
of your most honoured generals, being asked what was 
to become of the women in a great march of devastation 
that he was about to make, replied, "The women? I 
would leave them nothing but their eyes to weep with ! " 
But, indeed, I grieve that in this our mutual war the 

272 The Mystery of the Sea 

Senora grieves. Is it that she has suffered in herself, 
or through others dear to her? " Marjory's eyes flashed ; 
pulling herself to full height she said proudly: 

" Sir, I am not one who whines for pain of my own. I 
and mine know how to bear our own troubles, as our 
ancestors did before us. We do not bend before Spain ; 
no more to-day than when my great ancestors swept 
the Spaniard from the Western Main, till the seas were 
lit with blazing masts and the shores were fringed with 
wreckage! We Americans are not the jtuff of which 
you make reconcentrados. We can die ! As for me, the 
three hundred years that have passed without war, are 
as a dream; I look on Spain and the Spaniard with the 
eyes, and feel with the heart, of my great uncle Francis 

Whilst she was speaking Don Bernardino was cooling 
down. He was still deadly pale, and his eyes had some- 
thing of the hollow glare of phosphorus in the sockets of 
a skull. But he was master of himself ; and it seemed to 
me that he was straining every nerve to recover, for 
some purpose of his own, his lost ground. It may have 
been that he was ashamed of his burst of passion, with 
and before a woman; but anyhow he was manifestly set 
on maintaining calm, or the appearance of it. With the 
fullness of his grace and courtesy he said, turning to 
Mrs. Jack: 

" I thank you for the permission, so graciously granted 
to me, to visit again this my house. You will permit 
me, however, I hope without any intention of offence, to 
withdraw from where my presence has brought so much 
of disturbance; the which I deplore, and for which I 
crave pardon." 

To me he bowed stiffly with a sort of lofty condescen- 
sion; and finally, looking towards Marjory, he said: 

" The Senora will I trust believe that even a Spaniard 

Don Bernardino 273 

may have pity to give pain; and that there are duties 
which gentlemen must observe because they are gentle- 
men, and because they reverence the trust that is reposed 
in them more than do common men. She can appreciate 
the call of duty I know ; for she can be none other than the 
new patriot who restores in the west our glorious memo- 
ries of the Maid of Saragossa. I pray that the time 
may come when she shall understand these things and 
believe ! " Then, with a bow which seemed the em- 
bodiment of old-fashioned grace and courtesy, he bent 
almost to the ground. Marjory instinctively bowed. Her 
training as to good manners, here stood her in good 
stead; not even patriotic enthusiasm can at times break 
the icy barrier of social decorum.-- 

When the Spaniard left the room, which he did with 
long strides but bearing himself with inconceivable 
haughtiness, Mrs. Jack, with a glance at us, went with 
him. Instinctively I started to take her place; in the 
first instance to relieve her from an awkward duty, and 
beyond this with a feeling that I was not quite satisfied 
with him. No one could be in antagonism with Marjory, 
and acquire or retain my good will. As I moved, Mar- 
jory held up her hand and whispered to me to stay. I 
did so, and waited for her to explain. She listened in- 
tently to the retreating footsteps; when we heard the 
echoing sound of the closing the heavy outer door, she 
breathed freely and said to me with relief in her voice: 

" I know you two would have fought if you had got 
alone together just now ! " 

I smiled, for I was just beginning to understand that 
that was just how I felt. Marjory remained standing at 
the table, and I could see that she was buried in thought. 
Presently she said: 

" I felt it was cruel to say such things to that gentle- 
man. Oh! but he is a gentleman; the old idea seems 


274 The Mystery of the Sea 

embodied in him. Such pride, such haughtiness ; such dis- 
dain of the commoner kind ; such adherence to ideas ; such 
devotion to honour ! Indeed, I felt it very cruel and un- 
generous; but I had nothing else to do. I had to make 
him angry; and I knew he couldn't quarrel with me. 
Nothing else would have taken us all away from the 
cipher." Her words gave me quite a shock. " Do you 
mean to say Marjory," I asked, " that you were acting 
a part all the time ? " 

" I don't know " she answered pensively, " I meant 
every word I said, even when it hurt him most. I sup- 
pose that was the American in me. And yet all the 
time 1 had a purpose or a motive of my own which 
prompted me. I suppose that was the woman in me." 

"And what was the motive or purpose?" I asked 
again, for I wondered. 

" I don't know ! " she said naively. I felt that she 
was concealing something from me; but that it was a 
something so tender or so deep in her heart that its very 
concealment was a shy compliment. So I smiled happily 
as I said: 

" And that is the girl in you. The girl that is 
American, and European, and Asiatic, and African, 
and Polynesian. The girl straight out of the Garden 
of Eden, with the fragrance of God's own breath in her 
mouth ! " 

" Darling ! " she said, looking at me lovingly. That 
was all. 

During the day, we discussed the visitor of the morn- 
ing, Mrs. Jack said very little, but now and again im- 
plored Marjory to be cautious ; when she was asked her 
reason for the warning her only reply was : 

" I don't like a man who can look like that. I don't 
know which is worst, when he is hot or cold ! " I gath- 
ered that Marjory in the main agreed with her; but did 

Don Bernardino 275 

not feel the same concern. Marjory would have been con- 
cerned if the danger had been to anyone else; but she 
was not habituated to be anxious about herself. Besides, 
she was young; and the antagonist was a man; and 
haughty and handsome, and interesting. 

In the afternoon we completed our arrangements for 
the visit to the treasure cave. We both felt the necessity 
for pressing on this matter, since the existence of the 
secret writing was known to Don Bernardino. He had 
not hesitated to speak openly, though he did not know 
of course the extent of our own knowledge of the sub- 
ject, of a grave duty which he had undertaken from 
hereditary motives, or of the tragic consequences which 
might ensue. It was whilst we were speaking of the 
possibility of his being able to decipher the cryptogram, 
that Marjory suddenly said: 

" Did you understand exactly why I asked you to give 
him the paper at once ? " 

" Far be it from me " I answered " to profess to un- 
derstand exactly the motives of any charming woman." 

"Not even when she tells you herself?" 

" Ah ! then the real mystery only begins ! " I said bow- 
ing. She smiled as she replied: 

" You and I are both fond of mysteries. So I had 
better tell you at once. That man doesn't know the secret. 
I am sure of it. He knows there is a secret ; and he knows 
a part, but only a part. That eager look wouldn't have 
been in his eye if he had known already. I daresay there 
is, somewhere, some duplicate of what the original Don 
Bernardino put down in his story. And of course there 
must be some allusion to the treasure in the secret records 
at Simancas or the Quirinal or the Vatican. Neither 
the kings of Spain nor the Popes would let such a treas- 
ure pass out of mind. Indeed it is possible that there 
is some key or clue to it which he holds. Did you notice 

276 The Mystery of the Sea 

how he referred at once to the secret meaning of the 
memorandum in the beginning of the law book? If we 
had not given it up at once, he would have forced on 
the question and wished to take the paper away ; and we 
could not have refused without letting him know some- 
thing by our very refusal. Do you understand any more 
of my meaning now ? And can you forgive me any more 
for my ill-mannered outbreak? That is what I am most 
sorry for, of all that has been in the interview to-day. 
Is that also any more light to you on the mystery of a 
woman's mind ? " 

"It is, you dear! it is!" I said as I took her for a 
moment in my arms. She came easily and lovingly to me, 
and I could not but be assured that the yielding even 
momentarily to tenderness helped to ease the strain which 
had been bearing upon her for so long. For my Marjory, 
though a strong and brave one, was but a woman after all. 

At six o'clock I took my way back to Whinnyfold ; for 
I wanted to have all ready for our enterprise, and take full 
advantage of the ebb tide. We arranged that on this 
occasion Marjory should come alone to join me at the 
house our house 


WHEN Marjory arrived, I had all ready for our 
exploration. There were several packages 
waiting for her, and when she emerged from 
the room where she had gone to change, their purpose 
was manifest. She appeared in a flannel tennis frock, 
short enough to show that she had put on her sand shoes 
on her bare feet. She saw that I noticed and said with 
a little blush : 

" You see I am dressed for the part ; you came back 
so wet the last time that I thought I had better prepare 
for it too." 

" Quite right, my dear," I said. " That pretty head 
of yours is level." We went to the cellar at once where 
I had lamps and candles prepared and ready to light. I 
showed Marjory how to get up and down by herself, in 
case anything should happen to me. This made the 
gravity of our enterprise apparent. Her face grew a trifle 
anxious, though she did not change colour; I could see 
that all her anxiety was for me and none for herself. 
We took care to bring a plentiful supply of matches and 
candles, as well as an extra lamp and an oil can, and some 
torches and red and white lights. All these were in a tin 
box to insure their being kept dry. I had a meal of bread 
and meat packed ready ; also a bottle of water and a flask 
of brandy, for the exploration might take a long time. 
The tide was not quite out, and there was still in places a 


278 The Mystery of the Sea 

couple of feet of water ; but we decided to go on at once as 
it would give us more time if we started on a falling tide. 

I took Marjory first up the passage inland, so that she 
might understand something of the lines of the cave sys- 
tem. There was, however, too much tide just then to 
show her where I surmised there might be some deep 
opening, perhaps permanently under water, into some of 
the other caves. Then we retraced our steps and gained 
the pile of debris of the explosion at the cave's mouth. I 
could not but notice how much Marjory was impressed by 
the stillness of the place. Here, the tide, filtering in by 
innumerable crevices and rifts between the vast pile of 
stones, showed no sign of the force of waves without. 
There was not time for the rise and fall of waves to be 
apparent; but the water maintained its level silently, 
except for that ceaseless gurgle which comes with the 
piling in of water anywhere, and is so constant that it does 
not strike one as a sound. It was borne in upon us that 
the wildest storm without, would make no impress upon 
us here in this cavern deep ; and with it, as an inevitable 
corollary, came the depressing thought of our helplessness 
should aught go wrong in the fastnesses of this natural 

Marjory bounded over the slippery stones like a young 
deer, and when we passed through the natural archway 
into the cave beyond, her delight was manifest. She was 
hurrying on so quickly that I found it necessary to tell 
her she must go slow so as to be able to take stock of all 
around her as she went. It was needful to look back as 
well as forward, so that she might recognise the places 
when coming the other way. I reminded her of caution 
by holding up the great ball of stout cord which I carried, 
the end of which was attached to the rope of the windlass 
in the cellar. " Remember, dear," I said, " that you have 
to be prepared for all eventualities ; if necessary to go back 

The Accolade 279 

alone and in the dark." She shuddered a little and drew 
closer to me ; I felt that the movement was one of protec- 
tion rather than of fear. 

When we went along the passage, where on the first 
occasion I had found the water rise neatly to the roof, we 
had to wait; a little way ahead of us, where the cave 
dipped to its lowest, the water was still touching the 
top. We possessed our souls with what patience we 
could, and in about half an hour's time we were able to 
pass. ,We were quite wet, however, for only our faces 
and our lamps were above water; with the exception, of 
course, of the tin box with the candles and matches and 
our provisions, which I took care to keep dry. 

Marjory's delight at the sight of the huge red cave was 
unspeakable. When I lit one of the red lights the blind- 
ing glow filled the place, exposing every nook and corner, 
and throwing shadows of velvet blackness. The natural 
red of the granite suited the red light, the effect being 
intensely rich. Whilst the light lasted it was all like a 
dream of fairyland; and Marjory hung on to me in an ec- 
stasy of delight. 'Then, when the light died down and 
the last sparks fell into the natural darkness, it seemed as 
if we and all around us were steeped in gloom. The little 
patches of faint light from our lamps seemed to our 
dazzled eyes to openly emphasise the surrounding black- 

Marjory suggested that we should explore the great 
cavern before we did anything else. I acquiesced, for 
it was just as well that we should be thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the various ramifications of the cave. I 
was not by any means sure as yet that we should be able 
to get to the cave of the treasure. Here, all around us, was 
red ; we were entirely within the sienite formation. When 
1 had been first in the cave I had not seen it lit up. Only 
where the comparatively feeble light of my bicycle lantern 

280 The Mystery of the Sea 

had fallen had I seen anything at all. Of course it may 
have been that the red light which I had burned had misled 
me by overwhelming everything in its lurid glow. So 
this time I got a white light out of the box and lit it. 
The effect was more ghastly and less pleasant. In the 
revealing glare, the edges of everything stood out hard 
and cold, and so far repulsive that instinctively Marjory 
drew closer to me. While the light remained, however, I 
was able to satisfy myself of one thing; all around was 
only the red granite. Colour and form and texture all 
told the same thing; we had passed the stratification of 
gneiss and entered on that of the sienite. I began to 
wonder and to think, though I did not at once mention the 
matter to Marjory. The one guiding light as to locality 
in the Don's narrative was the description of the cave 
" the black stone on one hand and the red on the other." 
Now at Broad Haven the gneiss and the red sienite join, 
and the strata in places seem as if welded together or 
fused by fire. Here and there can be found patches in 
the cliff where it is hard to say where one class of rock 
ends and the other begins. In the centre bay, however, 
to the north of my house, there is a sort of dip in the 
cliff covered deep with clay, and bright with grass and 
wild flowers. Through this a tiny stream rushes in wet 
weather, or in dry trickles down the steep incline. This 
is the natural or main division between the geological 
formations ; for on either side of it is a different kind of 
rock it was here that I expected to find that the treasure 
cave was situated. It had been of course impossible for me, 
though I had had a compass with me, to fix exactly the 
windings of the cave. I knew, however, that the general 
trend was to the right; we must, therefore, have passed 
behind the treasure cave and come into the region of red 
granite. I began to have an idea, or rather the rudiment 
of one, that later on we should have to go back on our 

The Accolade 281 

tracks. Inasmuch as my own house stood on the gneiss 
formation, we should have to find whereabout in the cave 
windings the red and the black rocks joined. From this 
point we might be able to make new and successful prog- 
ress towards discovery of the treasure itself. In the 
meantime I was content to linger a few minutes in the 
great cavern. It was evident that Marjory was in love 
with it, and was at present in a whirl of delight. And, 
after all, she was my world, and her happiness my sun- 
shine. I fully realised in the delightful passages of our 
companionship the truth of the lover's prayer in Herrick's 
pretty poem. 

" Give me but what this Ribbon bound, * 
Take all the rest the sun goes round." 

Every day, every hour, seemed to me to be revealing 
new beauties of my wife's character and nature. She was 
herself becoming reconciled to our new relationship; and 
in the confidence of her own happiness, and in her trust 
of her husband, the playful and sweet sides of her nature 
were gaining a new development. I could not help feeling 
at times that all was going on for the best ; that the very 
restraint of the opening of our married life was formative 
of influence for good on us both. If all young husbands 
and wives could but understand the true use of the old- 
fashioned honeymoon, the minute knowledge of character 
coming in moments of unconscious self-revelation, there 
might be more answers in the negative to the all important 
nineteenth century philosophical query, " Is marriage a 
failure ? " It was evident that Marjory was reluctant to 
leave the cave. She lingered and lingered; at last in 
obedience to a command of hers, conveyed for she said 
nothing in some of those subtle feminine ways, which, 
though I did not understand their methods, I was begin- 
ning to learn to obey, I lit a torch. Holding it aloft, and 

282 The Mystery of the Sea 

noticing with delight how the light danced in my wife's 
beautiful eyes as she clapped her hands joyously with the 
overt pleasure of a child, I said: 

" Her Majesty wishes to inspect her new kingdom. 
Her slave awaits her pleasure ! " 

" Lead on ! " she said. " Her Majesty is pleased with 
the ready understanding of her Royal Consort, and with 
his swift obedience to her wishes; and oh! Archie isn't 
this simply too lovely for anything ! " The quick change 
into the vernacular made us both laugh ; and taking hands 
like two children we walked round the cavern. At the 
upper end of it, almost at the furthest point from where 
we entered, we came across a place where, under an over- 
hanging red wall which spread out overhead like a canopy, 
a great rock rose from the level floor. It was some nodule 
of especial hardness which in the general trituration had 
not been worn away by the wash of the water and the roll- 
ing of pebbles which at one time undoubtedly helped to 
smooth the floor. In the blinking light of the torch, the 
strength of which was dimmed in the vastness of the 
cavern, the isolated rock, standing as it did under the 
rocky canopy whose glistening surface sent down a 
patchy reflex of the glare, seemed like a throne. The idea 
occurred simultaneously to both of us ; even as I spoke I 
could see that she was prepared to take her seat : 

" Will not Her Majesty graciously take her seat upon 
the throne which the great Over-Lord, Nature, has him- 
self prepared for her? " 

She took the stick which she carried to steady her in 
the wading, and holding it like a sceptre, said, and oh, 
but her sweet voice sounded like far music stealing 
through the vastness of the cavern: 

" Her Majesty, now that she has ascended her throne, 
and so, formally taken possession of her Kingdom, hereby 
decrees that her first act of power shall be to confer the 

The Accolade 283 

honour of Knighthood on her first and dearest subject. 
Kneel therefore at the feet of your Queen. Answer me 
by your love and loyalty. Do you hereby promise and 
vow obedience to the wishes of your Queen? Shall you 
love her faithfully and truly and purely ? Shall you hold 
her in your heart of hearts, yielding obedience to all true 
wishes of hers, and keeping the same steadfastly to the 
end ? Do you love me ? " 

Here she paused; the rising emotion was choking her 
words. The tears welled into her eyes and her mouth 
quivered. I was all at once in a fire of devotion. I could 
then, and indeed when I think of it I can now, realise 
how of old, in the days when loyalty was a passion, a 
young knight's heart flowered and blossomed in the mo- 
ment of his permitted devotion. It was with all the truth 
of my soul and my nature that I answered : 

" I do love you, oh, my gracious Queen. I hereby take 
all the vows you have meted to me. I shall hold you ever, 
as I do now, in my very heart of hearts. I shall worship 
and cherish you till death parts us. I shall reverence and 
obey your every true wish ; even as I have already prom- 
ised beside the sea and at the altar. And whithersoever 
my feet may go in obedience to your will, my Queen and 
my Love, they shall go on steadfast, to the end." Here 
I stopped, for I feared to try to say more ; I was trembling 
myself and the words were choked in my throat. Marjory 
bent over as 1 knelt, laid her wand on my shoulder and 

" Rise up, Sir Archibald, my own True Knight and 
Loyal Lover ! " Before I rose I wanted to kiss her hand, 
but as I bent, her foot was temptingly near. I stooped 
lower to kiss it. She saw my intention and saying impul- 
sively : " Oh, Archie dear, not that wet, dirty shoe," 
kicked it off. I stooped still lower and kissed her bare 

284 The Mystery of the Sea 

As I looked up at her face adoringly, a blush swept over 
it and left her pale ; but she did not flinch. Then I stood 
up and she stepped down from her throne, and into my 
arms. She laid her head against my shoulder, and for a 
few moments of ecstasy our hearts beat together. 


U 1^ TOW," said Marjory, at last disengaging herself 
r^J from me, "let us get down to business. 
We've got to find the treasure, you know ! " 
So we set ourselves down to a systematic search. 

We explored one after another all the caves leading out 
of the main cavern. Some of them were narrow and 
tortuous; some were wide and low with roof dropping 
down, down, until it was impossible for anything in the 
shape of humanity to pass. All these, however, with one 
exception, ended in those fissure-like clefts, running 
somewhere to a point, which characterise cavern forma- 
tions. The exception was at the north west side of the 
cavern where a high, fairly wide passage extended, with 
an even floor as though it too had been levelled by rolling 
pebbles. It kept on straight for a good length, and then 
curved round gently to the right, all the while fairly 
maintaining its proportions. Presently it grew so high 
that it was like a narrow way between tall houses. I 
lit a white light, and in the searching glare noticed that far 
overhead the rocky walls leaned together till they 
touched. This spot, just above us, was evidently the 
highest point; the roof thence fell rapidly till at last it 
was only some ten feet high. A little further on it came to 
a sudden end. 

Here there was a great piled-up mass of huge, sharp- 
edged rocks, at the base of which were stones of all 


286 The Mystery of the Sea 

sizes, some round and some jagged. Scattered near and 
isolated were many stones rounded by constant friction. 

As I looked, the whole circumstances seemed to come 
to me. " See," I cried to Marjory, " this was evidently 
another entrance to the cave. The tides, ebbing or flow- 
ing, drove in through one way and out at the other ; and 
the floor was worn level in process of countless years by 
rolling pebbles like these. Then came some upheaval or 
wearing away by water drift of supporting walls of rock ; 
and this mouth of the cave fell in. We must be by now 
somewhere at the Cruden side of .Whinnyfold; we are 
facing almost due north." 

As there was manifestly nothing to be done here, we 
took our way back to the main cavern. When we began 
to look around us for a new place to explore, Marjory 

" There doesn't seem to be any treasure cave at all 
here. We have now tried everywhere." Then it was that 
my mind went back again to the Don's description " Black 
on the one hand and red on the other." " Come," I said, 
" let us go back till we find the joining of the gneiss and 
granite." As we went back the floor was almost dry; 
only a few pools of water here and there, lying in the 
depressions, called attention to the fact that we were 
under tidal influence. As we went we kept a careful look- 
out for the fusion of the rocks; and found it where the 
passage with the descending roof debouched into that 
which led from the blocked up entrance of the cave. 
There was here, however, no sign of another passage, 
and the main one outside was like that under my own 
house, entirely through the gneiss. 

I could not help feeling a little disappointed. For 
many weeks my mind had been set on finding the Pope's 
treasure; and though I believe it was not greed which 
controlled me even to any great extent, I was deeply 

The Pope's Treasure 287 

chagrined. I had a sort of unworthy fear that it might 
lower me in the eyes of Marjory. This feeling, however, 
was only momentary ; and when it went, it went for good. 
Drawing in my note-book a rough outline of Whinnyfold, 
I dotted lines where I took the various branches of the 
cave to lie and then marked in the line of fusion of the 
gneiss and the granite as it was manifest on the cliffs and 
on the shore beyond. Marjory was at once convinced; 
indeed when I saw my surmise put down in black and 
white it seemed to me quite apparent that it must be 
correct. The treasure cave must be within that space 
which lay between the dismantled entrance on the side 
of the Skares, and that which had fallen in on the north 
side. The logical inference was that if there was an 
entrance to be found at all it would be close to the debris 
from the Don's explosion. So we took in silence, our way 
back to that point and began at once to examine the debris 
for any sign of an opening in the rock to the north side. 
Marjory scrambled up to the top of the pile whilst I 
explored the base. Turning my lantern on the rocky wall 
1 began to examine it foot by foot and inch by inch. 

Suddenly Marjory cried out. I raised my head and 
looked at her. Her face, lit by the rays of my own lamp 
which, with the habit of searching now familiar to me 
I had turned as my eyes turned, was radiant with joy 
and excitement. 

" Look ! look ! " she cried. " Oh, Archie, there is the 
top of an opening here. The stones fill it up." As she 
spoke she pushed at a stone on the top of the pile ; under 
her hand it moved and disappeared with a hollow rattle. 
By this time I had scrambled up the slippery pile and 
was beside her. The disappearance of the stone had en- 
larged the opening, and something like a foot square was 

So we began to work at the heap of stones, only we 

288 The Mystery of the Sea 

pulled and threw them into the cave where we were so 
as not to block the place we aimed at. The top layer of 
stones was easy to move, as they were comparatively 
small, and were not interlocked, but below them we found 
a much more difficult task. Here the rocks were larger 
and more irregular in shape, and their points and edges 
interlocked. We did not mind, however, but toiled on. 
I could not but notice as we did so, a trait of Marjory's 
coolness of head in the midst of all her excitement, when 
she took from her pocket a pair of heavy gloves and put 
them on. 

In some fifteen or twenty minutes we had unmasked a 
hole sufficiently large to pass through comfortably. I 
found that the oil of my lamp was running low; so I 
refilled it and Marjory's also. Then holding my own lamp 
carefully, whilst Marjory turned hers in the direction I 
was going, I passed over the top of the miniature moraine, 
and in a few seconds was on the floor of the other cave. 
Marjory threw me the ball of string and scrambling down 
joined me at once. We went along carefully, for the roof 
of the cave dipped very low and we had in more than one 
place to bend considerably ; even then we were walking in 
a couple of feet of water as the floor dipped as well as the 
roof. When we had gone some distance, however, the 
roof rose as the cave turned sharp to the left, round a 
corner of very broken and jagged rock in which I could 
see signs of the fusion of the two geological formations. 
Our hearts beat high and we took hands instinctively; 
we were now confident that we were in the treasure house 
at last. 

As we went up the cave, here running, so far as I could 
ascertain by the compass, straight in and from the sea, 
we could note, as we turned our lamps now and again to 
either side, that on our left was all black rock whilst on 
the right was all red. The cave was not a long one; 

The Pope's Treasure 289 

nothing to compare with those we had left. It was not 
very many seconds, though we had to go slow as we did 
not know for certain as to the floor level, before the cave 
began to expand. 

When, however, it widened and became more lofty, 
the floor rose in all some three feet and we went up a 
sharp incline though not of very great magnitude. This 
dipped a little again forming a pool which spread ahead 
of us so far as we could see by the dim light of our bicycle 
lamps. As we did not know the depth I waded in, 
Marjory enjoining me anxiously to be careful. I found 
it deepened very slowly ; so she joined me and we went on 
together. By my advice, Marjory kept a few feet in the 
rear, so that in case I should stumble or meet with a 
deep hole and so lose my light, hers would still be safe. 
I was so intent on my feet, for I feared lest Marjory fol- 
lowing so close might get into some trouble, that I hardly 
looked ahead, but kept cautiously on my way. Marjory, 
who was flashing her lamp all around as she went, sud- 
denly called out : 

" Look ! look ! There to the right, the figure of the 
San Cristobal with the golden Christ on his shoulder." 

I turned my lantern to the angles of the cave to the 
right co which we were now close. The two lamps gave 
us light enough to see well. 

There, rising from the water under the shelf of rock, 
was the figure that Benvenuto had wrought, as Don 
Bernardino had left it three centuries ago. 

As I moved forwards I stumbled; in trying to save 
myself the lamp was shaken from my hand and fell hiss- 
ing in the dark water. As it fell I saw by the flash of 
light the white bones of a skeleton under the San Cristo- 
bal. Instinctively I called out to Marjory: 

" Stand still and take care of your lamp ; I've dropped 


290 The Mystery of the Sea 

" All right ! " came back her answer coolly ; she had 
quite command of herself. She turned the lamp down- 
wards, so that we could see into the water, and I found I 
had stumbled against an iron box, beside which, in about 
two feet of water, lay my lamp. I picked this up first and 
shook the water from it and laid it on the shelf of rock. 
" Wait here a moment," I said, " I shall run back and get 
a torch." For I had left the tin box on the top of the 
heap of debris when we had scrambled through the hole. 
I was starting back at once when she said after me, and 
in that cave the voice came after me " monotonous and 
hollow like a ghost's : " 

" Take my lamp with you dear. How can you find the 
box, or even the way to it, in the dark ? " 

" But I can't leave you alone here ; all in the dark, too." 

" Oh, I'm all right," she answered gaily, " I don't mind 
a bit! And besides it will be a new sensation to be here 
alone with Olgaref and the treasure. You won't be 
long, will you, dear ? " I felt that her query almost belied 
her brave words ; but I knew that behind the latter lay her 
pride which I must not offend; so I took the lamp she 
was holding out to me and hurried on. In a few min- 
utes I had found the box and brought it back ; but I could 
see that even those minutes had been a trying time to 
Marjory, who was deathly white. When I came close, 
she clung to me; after a second or two she said, as she 
drew herself away, looking at me diffidently as though to 
excuse herself, or rather to account for her perturbation : 

" The moment you had gone and I was alone in the dark 
with the treasure, all the weird prophecying of Gormala 
came back to me. The very darkness itself made light 
patches, and I saw shrouds floating everywhere. But it's 
all right now that you are here. Light a torch, and we 
shall look at the Pope's treasure." I took a torch out of 
the box and lit it; she laid it so that the lighted end 

The Pope's Treasure 291 

projected well beyond the shelf of rock and gave a fine 
if fitful, light to all around. We found water about three 
feet deep at its worst; in the glare of the torch and be- 
cause of its crystal purity, it did not look even so much. 
We stooped down to examine the box, which was only one 
of several lying in front of a great heap of something, 
all dark with rust and age, which filled up a whole corner 
of the cave. 

The hasp was eaten through with rust, as well it might 
be after three centuries in the water, and only retained its 
form. This was doubtless due to the stillness of the water, 
for even the shock of my striking the box with my boot 
had broken it across. When I pulled at it, it crumbled to 
pieces in my fingers. In the same way the iron of the box 
itself was rusted right through ; and as I tried to lift 
the lid which was annealed by corrosion to the sides of 
the box, it broke in my hands. I was able to tear it 
away like matchwood. The contents were not corroded, 
but were blackened by the sea. It was all money, but 
whether silver or gold we could not tell, and did not stop 
to see. Then we opened box after box in the same way, 
and in all but one found coins. This took a considerable 
time; but we did not in our excitement note its flying. 
The heap in the corner was composed of great ingots, to 
lift any of which took a distinct effort of strength. The 
one box unfilled with coins contained smaller boxes or 
caskets which were uncorroded and were, we presumed, 
of some superior metal, silver or gold. They were all 
locked ; I lifted one of them and laid it on the shelf of 
rock whilst I searched for a key. It was a difficult 
matter to find any definite thing whilst stooping in the 
water, so I took my knife and tried with its point to 
prise open the casket. The lock must have been of iron 
and corroded ; it gave way instantly under pressure, dis- 
closing a glittering heap of stones which, even through 

The Mystery of the Sea 

all the cloudiness of the saline deposit of centuries, flashed 
red lights everywhere. 

" Rubies ! " cried Marjory who stood close to me, clap- 
ping her hands. " Oh ! how lovely. Darling ! " she added 
kissing me, for her expression of delight had to find a vent 
on something. 

" Next ! " I said as I bent to the iron chest to lift out 
another of the caskets. 

I drew back with a shudder; Marjory looking anxiously 
at my face divined the cause and cried in genuine alarm : 

" The tide ! The tide is rising ; and is shutting us in ! " 


I THINK there must be some provision of nature 
which in times of real danger keeps men's minds 
away from personal fears. I can honestly say that 
not a thought of danger for myself crossed my mind; 
though I was harrowed up and appalled by fears for 
Marjory. My mental excitement, however, took a prac- 
tical shape, and thought after thought flashed through my 
brain as to how I could best serve my wife. The situa- 
tion with its woeful possibilities came first; and after- 
wards, in quick succession, the efforts which might be 
made. But first I must see how we really stood. I did 
not know this cave and the lengths and levels of it well 
enough to be sure whether the tide could block us com- 
pletely in. If there were but head-room the actual dis- 
tance was not far to swim. This I could soon settle ; tak- 
ing Marjory's lamp which stood on the ledge of rock I 
ran down the cave calling out as I went : 

" Stay here a minute, dear, I want to see how far the 
tide is in." The double winding of the cave made it hard 
for me to judge at a glance; it was only when I came to 
the piece of straight passage leading up from the sea that 
I could judge. From the time 1 left the treasure chamber 
of the- cave the water got deeper and deeper as I went, but 
the difficulty was not in this way; I knew that so long 
as there was headway I could swim for it and take Mar- 
jory with me. But when I came down the straight, my 


294 The Mystery of the Sea 

hopes were altogether dashed. As the floor dipped 
towards the sea so did the roof in much greater degree. 
I knew that there was one place where at low water there 
was only barely headway even when we stooped low ; 
but I was not prepared for what I saw. The water had 
already risen so far that this place was, from where I 
stood waist high in water, obliterated; the rocky roof 
sank into the still, level water. For a moment I con- 
sidered whether it would not be best to dive through it. 
I had the cord to guide me, and I knew that towards its 
mouth the cave roof rose again. But then there was 
Marjory. She was not like myself an accomplished diver. 
It might be possible if the worst should come to the worst 
to draw her through the water-choked piece of tunnel by 
the guiding cord. But if the cord should break or any- 
thing go wrong. . v -. The thought was too dread- 
ful! I hurried back to Marjory to see how far it might 
be advisable to make the attempt, however dangerous, 
rather than be drowned in the deepening water of the 
cave, or asphyxiated if the space left were too small to 
allow us breathing till the falling of the tide. 

I found Marjory standing on the shelf of rock, to which 
she had climbed by the aid of the San Cristobal figurehead. 
She was holding up the torch and examining carefully the 
walls and roof of the cave. When she heard the splash of 
my coming through the water, she turned; I could see 
that though her face was pale she was very calm and self- 
possessed. She said quietly: 

" I have been looking for high-water mark, but I can 
hardly see any sign of it. I suppose in this dark cave, 
where neither seaweed nor zoophyte exists, there is no 
such thing. Unless of course it be that the whole cave is 
under the water line ; in which case we must be ready for 
the worst." As she spoke she was raising the torch till 
its light illuminated, so far as was possible, the extreme 

The Rising Tide 295 

angle of the cavern where it ran up to a sort of point. I 
scrambled up beside her, and making use of my greater 
height, took the torch and keeping it away at arm's 
length put my hand into the narrowing angle. I had a 
sort of secret hope that there might be some long crack or 
rift which, though it might be impossible for our bodies, 
might still give us air. Any such half-formed hope was 
soon shattered ; the angle of the cave was in the solid rock, 
and there was no fissure or even crack beyond. 

As there was no clue to the level reached by the tide, 
I tried back on the possibility of gauging it by measuring 
from low water, so far as my memory of the tides might 
serve. Judging by the depth of the water, so far as I had 
gone, the fall of the floor level must here have been some 
three feet. The floor level of the cave was almost that of 
low water, except where it dipped under the overhanging 
roof, or where was the ascending grade up to the pool in 
which the treasure boxes lay. As here on the border of 
the North Sea, with no estuary to increase tidage, the 
normal rise of the tide is between eleven and twelve feet, 
we had to account for another eight or nine feet for the 
rise of the tide. The ledge was about a foot above the 
surface of the water. If my calculations were correct 
there was head room and breathing space, for as I stood 
on the ledge the top of my head was still about two feet 
from the highest point of roof over us. I could not, 
however, be certain of my calculations, within a couple 
of feet. If, therefore, we could keep our place on the 
shelf of rock and endure the cold we might yet win 
through. The cold was a serious matter. At Cru- 
den where the full sweep of the icy current from the 
North Sea runs in shore, the water is grievously cold, 
even in the hottest summer time. Already we were 
feeling the effects of our wet clothes, even in this silent 
cavern where the heat seemed to be much more than out- 

296 The Mystery of the Sea 

side. When we had been looking at the jewels, I had 
myself felt the chill, and could feel Marjory shiver now 
and again. Indeed, I had been about to suggest our re- 
turning when I made the discovery of the rising tide. 

It was no use regretting, however. We were caged in 
the cavern ; and our only chance was to hold on somehow, 
till the tide should fall again. The practical side of Mar- 
jory's mind was all awake. It was she who quietly refilled 
the two lamps, and, with much spluttering of the wick at 
first, lighted again the one which I had let fall into the 
water. When both lamps were ready, she put out the 
torch and placed it in the tin box which she handed to me, 
saying : 

" We may need all the air we can get for our breathing, 
and the torches would burn it up. We must have two 
lamps lest one should fail. Shove the box as far as it will 
go into the corner of the cave; it will be safe there as 
safe as us at any rate, for it will be over our heads." 

As she spoke a new idea occurred to me. I might raise 
the level of the ledge by piling the ingots on it ! I did not 
lose any time, but jumping down began at once to lift 
them one by one on the ledge. It was heavy work, and no 
one but a very strong man could have lifted them from off 
the ground, much less have placed them on a ledge over 
where he stood. Moreover I had to bend into the water 
to reach them, and in the years which they had lain there 
in juxtaposition some deposit of salt or sea lime of some 
kind had glued them together. After the separation of the 
first, however, this difficulty grew less. Marjory aided 
me in placing the bars in position; when they were once 
fixed their great weight kept them in place. 

It was odd how little in these moments the treasure 
counted for. The little heap of rubies lay on the shelf of 
rock unnoticed, and when in the strain of placing the 
ingots some of them were brushed off into the water, 

The Rising Tide 297 

neither Marjory nor I took the trouble even to sweep them 
with a brush of the hand into a safer place. One of the 
metal caskets was tumbled bodily into the water without 
a thought. 

When the ingots were all in place, and shaken into 
steady position, we got on the ledge together and began to 
test the security of our platform ; it would be too late to 
find out any flaw of construction when the tide should 
have risen. We had made a foothold nearly two feet 
above the surface of the ledge, and this might give us at 
the last an additional chance. At any rate, even if we 
should not be so hard pressed as to have to raise our heads 
so high, it would give us a longer period of comparative 
dryness. We were already beginning to feel the chill of 
the tide. In those caves the air is all right, and we had 
not felt chilled, although we were more or less wet 
through ; but I dreaded lest it might numb either of us so 
much as to prevent our taking every chance. When we 
stood together on the pile of gold and silver, our heads 
were so close to the roof that I felt safe so far as actually 
drowning or asphyxiation were concerned if the tide did 
not rise higher than I had computed. If we could only 
hold out till the tide had fallen sufficiently, we might get 

And then we began the long, dreary wait for the rising 
tide. The time seemed endless, for our apprehension and 
suspense multiplied the real danger whatever it might be. 
We stood on the cave floor till the water had reached our 
waists, and all this time tried to keep moving, to dance 
up and down, to throw about arms and leg's so as to 
maintain the circulation of the blood. Then we climbed 
up and sat on the platform of bullion till the water rose 
round our knees again. Then we stood on the ledge and 
took what exercise we could till the water climbed up 
over our feet and knees. It was a terrible trial to feel the 

298 ; . The Mystery of the Sea 

icy, still water creep up, and up, and up. There was not 
a sound, no drip or ripple of water anywhere ; only silence 
as deadly as death itself. Then came the time when we 
had to stand together on the pile of bullion which we had 
built up. We stood close, for there was merely foothold ; 
I held Marjory up as well as I could, so as to lessen for 
her the strain of standing still. Our hearts beat together. 
We felt it, and we knew it ; it was only the expression of 
both our thoughts when Marjory said: 

" Thank God ! dear, at the worst we can die together." 
In turn we held the lamp well over the water, and as we 
looked in aching suspense we saw the dark flood rise up to 
the sloping roof of the cave and steal towards us with 
such slow, relentless precision that for my own part I felt 
I must scream. I felt Marjory tremble ; the little morsel 
of hysterics which goes to make up the sum total of every 
woman was beginning to assert itself. Indeed there was 
something hypnotic in that silent line of death creeping 
slowly towards us. At this time, too, the air began to 
feel less fresh. Our own breaths and the exhalations of 
the lamp was vitiating our breathing space. I whispered 
to Marjory: 

" We must put out the light ! " She shuddered, but 
said with as brave a voice as she could : 

" All right ! I suppose it is necessary. But, darling, 
hold me tight and do not let me away from you, or I shall 

I let the lantern fall into the water; its hissing for a 
moment drowned my own murmur of grief and Marjory's 
suppressed groan. 

And now, in the darkness, the terror of the rising flood 
grew worse and worse. The chill water crept up, and up, 
and up ; till at last it was only by raising her head that 
Marjory could breathe. I leaned back against the rock 
and bending my legs outward lifted her so that she rested 

The Rising Tide 299 

her feet upon my knees. Up and up rose the chill water 
till it reached my chin, and I feared that the last moments 
had come. 

There was one chance more for Marjory : and though it 
cut me to the soul to speak it, for I knew it would tear at 
her very heartstrings, I had to try it : 

" Marjory, my wife, the end is close ! I fear we may 
not both live. In a few minutes more, at most, the water 
will be over my mouth. When that time comes I shall 
sink over the pile of treasure on which "we rest. You 
must then stand on me; it will raise you sufficiently to 
let you hold out longer." A dreadful groan broke from 

<( Oh, my God ! " was all she said, but every nerve in 
her body seemed to quiver. Then without a word she 
seemed to become limp and was sliding out of my arms. I 
held her up strongly, for I feared she had swooned: she 
groaned out : 

" Let me go, let me go ! Either of us can rest on the 
other's body. I shall never leave this if you die." 

" Dear one " I said " do as I wish, and I shall feel that 
even death will be a happy thing, since it can help you." 
She said nothing but clung to me and our mouths met. I 
knew what she meant ; if die we must, we should die to- 
gether in a kiss. 

In that lover's kiss our very souls seemed to meet. We 
felt that the Gates of the Unknown World were being 
unbarred to us, and all its glorious mysteries were about 
to be unveiled. In the impassive stillness of that rising 
tide, where never a wave or ripple broke the dreadful, 
silent, calm, there was no accidental fall or rise which 
might give added uneasiness or sudden hope. We had by 
this time become so far accustomed to its deadly perfec- 
tion as to accept its conditions. This recognition of in- 
evitable force made for resignation; and I think that in 

300 The Mystery of the Sea 

those moments both Marjory and I realised the last limi- 
tations of humanity. When one has accepted the inevi- 
table, the mere act of dying is easy of accomplishment. 

But there is a contra to everything in the great ledgers 
of the Books of Life and Death, and it is only a final 
balance which counts for gain or loss. The very resig- 
nation which makes the thought of death easy to bear, 
is but a balance of power which may not be gainsayed. 
In the struggle of hope and despair the Winged One 
submits, and that is all. His wings are immortal ; out of 
fire or water, or pestilence, or famine, or the red mist of 
battle they ever rise again, when once there is light of 
any kind to animate them. 

Even when Marjory's mouth was bent to mine in a 
fond kiss of love and death, the wings of Hope fluttered 
around her head. For an instant or two she paused, as 
if listening or waiting, and then with a glad cry, which 
in that narrow space seemed to ring exultingly, she said : 

" You are saved ! You are saved ! The water is fall- 
ing; it has sunk below your lips." Even in that dread 
moment of life and death, I could not but be touched by 
her way of rejoicing in the possibility of our common 
safety. Her only thought was for me. 

But her words were true. The tide had reached its full ; 
the waters were falling. Minute by minute we waited, 
waited in breathless suspense; clinging to each other in 
an ecstasy of hope and love. The chill which had been 
upon us for so long, numbing every sense and seeming to 
make any idea of effort impossible, seemed to have lost 
its power. In the new quickening of hope, our hearts 
seemed to beat more warmly, till the blood tingled in our 
veins. Oh ! but the time was long, there in the dark, with 
the silent waters receding inch by inch with a slowness 
which was inconceivable. The strain of waiting became 
after a while almost unbearable ; I felt that I must speak 

The Rising Tide 301 

to Marjory, and make her speak and keep speaking, lest 
we should both break down, even at the very last. In the 
time of our waiting for death we had held on to our 
determination, blindly resolute to struggle to the last; 
even though we had accepted the inevitable. But now 
there was impatience added to our apprehension. We did 
not know the measure of our own endurance ; and Terror 
seemed to brood over us with flapping wings. 

Truly, the moments of coming Life are longer than 
hours of coming Death. 


WHEN the water had fallen so far that we could 
sit on the ledge, we rested for a few minutes 
to relieve the long and terrible strain of stand- 
ing, cramped and chilled as we were. But we soon felt 
the chill of the water and stood again till the rocky ledge 
was quite free. Then we enjoyed a rest, if the word " en- 
joyment " could be applied to our wearied, teeth-chatter- 
ing, exhausted condition. I made Marjory sit on my lap, 
so that we could get some warmth together, and that she 
might be saved from the benumbing coldness of the rock. 
We wrung out our clothes as well as we could, and with 
braver hearts set ourselves down to the second spell of 
our dark captivity. Well we knew that the tide had risen 
higher than the tin box in the corner of the cave, and 
tacitly put off the moment of assured knowledge. Pres- 
ently when the chill had somewhat passed from her and 
she shivered less, she stood up and tried to get down the 
box. She could not reach it, so I rose and took it down. 
Then we resumed our places on the ledge, and, with 
the box beside us, began to investigate. 

It was a sadly helpless performance. In the dark 
everything seemed strange, with regard to size as well 
as to shape. Our wet hands could not of themselves 
discriminate as to whether anything was wet or dry. It 
was only when we found that the box was quite full of 
water that we realised that there was no hope of light 


Round the Clock 303 

in this quarter, and that we must have patience through the 
darkness as well as we could. I think that Marjory cried 
a little. She covered it up for me in some womanly way. 
But there are eyes in the soul that can see even through 
Cimmerian gloom ; and I knew that she cried, though my 
senses could detect no sign. When I touched her face, 
my wet hands and my own wet face could tell me nothing. 
Still we were happy in a way. The fear of death Had 
passed, and we were only waiting for light and warmth. 
We knew that every minute, every breath we drew, the 
tide was falling; and we knew too that we could grope 
our way through the cavern. We rejoiced now that there 
was no labyrinth of offshoots of the cave; and we were 
additionally glad that our clue, the cord which we had 
taken with us, remained. We could easily pick it up 
when we should begin to move, for there was no stir of 
water to shift it and draw it away. 

When we thought that a sufficient time must have 
elapsed, even at the deadly slow pace at which it crawled, 
we kissed each other and began our first effort to escape. 

We easily found the cord, and keeping hold of it, felt 
our way slowly along the rugged wall. I made Marjory 
keep close behind me, a little to the right, for I was feel- 
ing way by the left hand alone. I feared lest she should 
get bruised by the jagged rock which protruded here and 
there. It was well I did so, for in the first dozen yards 
I got some severe knocks that might have permanently 
scarred her tender skin. The experience made me careful, 
however, and after it I took care to feel my way all round 
before advancing a step. I found by experience that it 
was the cord which had misled me by straining where 
there was a curve or an angle, and so taking me close 
to the rock instead of in the middle of the passage where 
we had originally dropped it as we went along. 

When we had passed the first two bends, the anxious 

304 The Mystery of the Sea 

time came ; it was here that the roof dropped, and we did 
not know if the tide had fallen low enough to let us 
through. We pushed on however into the deepening 
water, Marjory still keeping close behind me, though I 
wished to go on alone and explore. We found that the 
rock dipped below the water level when we had gone 
some way into the tunnel. So we came back and waited a 
good while it seemed a long, long time. Then we es- 
sayed again, and found that though the water was still 
high there were some inches of space between rock and 

Joyfully we pushed on slowly; our hearts beat gladly 
when we could raise our heads from the stooping posi- 
tion and raise them freely in the air. It only took us a 
few minutes to reach the pile of rocks ; then holding the 
cord as a clue to the narrow opening we scrambled up as 
well as we could. I helped Marjory as much as possible, 
but in this matter she was as good as I was ; nay better, 
for all her woman's instinct came to aid, and it was she 
who first got through the narrow hole. Then very care- 
fully we climbed down the other side, and, still holding 
our guiding cord, came at last to the tackle by which 
we had lowered ourselves into the cave. It was rather a 
surprise to us when we reached it, for we expected to 
see the welcome light through the opening before we had 
come under it. 

At first, in the whirl of thoughts, I imagined that 
something had gone wrong, a rock fallen in, or some sort 
of general collapse. Then I fancied that we had been 
tracked down, and that some one had tried to bury us 
in the cave. It is wonderful what strange thoughts come 
to one in a prolonged spell of absolute darkness; no 
wonder that even low-grade, violent, unimaginative crim- 
inals break down in the black hole ! Marjory said noth- 
ing; but when she spoke, it was evident from her words 

Round the Clock 305 

that she had some of the same ideas herself. There was 
a tone of relief in her voice which was unmistakable, and 
which must have followed some disconcerting thought: 

" Of course not ! It is only that the lamps and candles 
have burned out. We have forgotten the long time 
which has passed ; but the lights haven't ! " It was evi- 
dent enough now. We had been so many hours in the 
cave that the lights were exhausted ; and at no time was 
there a gleam of natural light in the cellar. 

I found it a little difficult to work the tackle in the 
dark with my numbed hands. Hope, however, is a para- 
mount force, and very soon Marjory was swinging up 
through the hole in the rock. . I called to her to get light 
as soon as she could; but she refused point blank to do 
anything until I was beside her. When I got the rope 
round me, we both pulled ; and in a very few seconds I 
too was up through the hole and in the cellar. I found 
the matches easily enough and oh ! the glorious sight of 
the light even in this spluttering form. We did not linger 
an instant but moved to the door, which I unlocked, and 
we stepped out and ran up the steps. The lantern on 
the roof which lit the staircase was all ablaze with sun- 
shine, and we felt bathed in light. For a second or two 
we could not realise it, and blinked under the too mag- 
nificent glare. 

And then, with inconceivable rapidity, we came back to 
the serenity and confidence which comes with daylight. 
In less than a second we were again in the realities of 
life ; and the whole long night of darkness and fear was 
behind us like a dream. 

I hurried Marjory into the room where she had dressed, 
and where were a store of her clothes; and then I pro- 
ceeded to make up a fire. The chimney place in the 
dining room was made after the old fashion, wide and 

deep, and had in the back a beautiful old steel rack with 


306 The Mystery of the Sea 

brackets on which to hang pots and kettles. I thought 
this would be the best place for a fire, as it was the biggest 
in the house. So I got from the fuel house off the kitchen 
an armful of dry furze and another of cut billets of pine 
which I dumped on top of it. A single match was suf- 
ficient, and in an instant, there was a large fire roaring 
up the chimney. I filled a great copper kettle with water 
and slung it in the blaze, and then, when I found myself 
in a cloud of steam from my wet clothes, ran into my own 
room. After a hard rub down which made my skin glow, 
and a wash which was exquisite, I put myself into dry 
clothes. When I came back to the dining room I found 
Marjory busy getting ready a meal supper, breakfast, 
dinner, we did not know what to call it. One glad mo- 
ment in each other's arms, and then kneeling together we 
thanked God for the great mercy which He had shown us. 
Then we resumed preparations to eat, for we were raven- 
ous. The kettle was beginning to sing, and we soon had 
hot delicious tea, which sent a glow through us. There 
were plenty of cooked provisions, and we did not wait 
to warm them : such luxuries as hot food would come 
into our lives later. It was only when we had satisfied 
our appetites that we thought of looking at the time. My 
own watch had stopped when I had first tried the en- 
trance to the great cave and had been waist high in water, 
but Marjory had left hers in her room when she had 
changed her dress for the expedition. It was now one 
o'clock and as the sun was high in the heavens it was 
P. M. Allowing for the time of dressing and eating, 
we must have been in all in the caves some twelve hours. 
I looked amongst my books and found Whittaker's Al- 
manach, from which I gathered that as the tide was full 
at half past six o'clock we must as the normal rise of 
the tide was between eleven and twelve feet have been 
immersed in the water some four hours. The very 

Round the Clock 307 

thought of it made us shudder; with an instinctive re- 
membrance of our danger and misery we drew close to- 

Then a heavy sleepiness seemed all at once to settle 
on us. Marjory would not leave me, and I did not wish 
her to. I felt, as she did, that we could not sleep easily 
if separated. So I got great armloads of rugs and cush- 
ions and made up two nests close to the fire which I 
built up with solid logs. I wrapped her in a great, warm 
plaid and myself in another, and we sank down on our 
couches, holding hands and with her head upon my shoul- 

When I woke it was almost pitch dark; only for a 
slight glow which came from the mass of red embers on 
the hearth the darkness would have been as complete as 
that of the cave. It is true that the sunblinds were down 
and the curtains drawn ; but even so, when there was light 
outside some gleams of it even, if only reflected, found 
their way in. Marjory was still sleeping as I stole softly 
to the window and looked out. 

All was dark. The moon was hidden behind a bank of 
cloud, only the edges of which tinged with light showed 
its place in the heavens. I looked at Marjory's watch 
which she had laid upon the table, having wound it up 
instinctively before the sleepiness had come upon her. It 
was now a few minutes past one. 

We had slept right round the clock. 

I began to make up the fire as softly as I could, for 
I did not wish to wake Marjory. I felt that sleep and 
plenty of it was the best thing for her after the prolonged 
strain and trial which she had undergone. I got ready 
clean plates and knives and forks, and put on the kettle 
again. Whilst I was moving about, she woke. For an 
instant or two she looked round in a dazed uncompre- 
hending way ; and then all at once the whole remembrance 

308 The Mystery of the Sea 

of the night swept across her. In a single bound, with 
the agility of a young panther, she sprang to her feet, 
and in an instant her arms were round me, half protect- 
ingly and whole lovingly. 

We had another hearty meal. It was pic-nic-ing in 
excelsis, and I doubt if the whole world held two happier 
beings. Presently we began to talk of the cave and of 
the treasure, and I was rejoiced to find that all the trial 
and anxiety had left no trace on Marjory's courage. It 
was she herself who suggested that we should go back to 
the cave and take out what she called those dear little 
boxes. We put on once more our cave clothes, which 
were dry again but which had shrunk lamentably, and 
laughing at each other's grotesque appearance we went 
down into the cellar again. Having renewed the lamps 
and made all safe for our return, we took lamps and 
torches and matches and set out on our quest. I think 
we both felt a little awed we were certainly silent as 
we crept through the hole over the moraine and took our 
way up the treasure cave. I confess that my own heart 
sank within me when we saw the lecf^e, with the San 
Cristobal and the infant Christ seeming to keep guard 
upon it; and I felt a pity, which I bad not felt before, 
for the would-be thief, Olgaref. Marjory I think felt 
the same way as I did, for she kept very close to me and 
now and again held on to me ; but she said nothing. We 
lit a torch and renewed our search. Whilst I stooped 
over the box and took out other caskets containing gems, 
Marjory held the light with one hand whilst she gathered 
the little heap of rubies from the first box and put them 
in the pocket of my jacket. Her feminine care was shown 
in her searching for the box and the rubies which had 
fallen into the water so that none might be lost. There 
were not many of the little caskets it is astounding what 
a small space will contain a many precious gems. They 

Round the Clock 309 

easily fitted into the bag which I had brought for the pur- 
pose. Then we took our way back to the house. 

When we had ascended, we put out the lights and 
locked the cellar. We changed our clothes again, Mar- 
jory putting on her livery; it was now nearly four o'clock 
in the morning, and it was time to be getting back to 


JUST as we were about to start Marjory said to me, 
half in jest but wholly in earnest: 
" I wonder what has become of Gormala these 
limes. If she knew of the last two night, she would 
simply become desperate; and there is no knowing what 
she might prophecy ! " 

Strangely enough, I had been myself thinking of the 
Witch-woman. I suppose it was that the memory of the 
finding of the treasure, and of the hovering near us of 
death, had recalled her weirds. With the thought of her, 
came once more that strange feeling which I had before 
experienced, a feeling as if she were present. Motioning 
to Marjory to put out the light, I stole to the window. 
The heavy curtains, when I had passed through them, 
shut out the glimmer of the firelight. Marjory came and 
joined me, and we looked out together. There were drift- 
ing clouds, and thus, moments of light and shadow. In 
one of the former I saw a dark mass on the edge of the 
deep grass that crowns the rock just over the entrance of 
Witsennan Point. If it was a woman it was probably 
Gormala ; and if it was Gormala she was probably watch- 
ing me, for of course she could not know that Marjory 
was with me. I determined to find out if I could ; so I 
told Marjory to slip out by the back door whilst I went 
to the point. We arranged to join at the upper village 
of old Whinnyfold. 


The Duty of a Wife 311 

Having placed my bicycle ready to start, and shut the 
door behind me softly, I stole over to the cliff. Lying just 
below the edge, but so that her head was at the top lay 
Gormala, asleep. At first I thought it was pretence, for 
I knew the wily nature of the old woman; but on ex- 
amining closely I found her sleep was real. She looked 
worn and tired out, and I concluded that it was the sec- 
ond night of watching on end which had finished her. It 
was well she slept, for had she been awake she must have 
seen us. The place she had chosen commanded both 
paths away from the house left and right; only by steal- 
ing back over the hill and keeping the house all the time 
between us and herself could we have avoided her prying 
eyes. Even then, were there light enough, she might 
have seen us debouching on the roadway had we gone 
inland by Whinnyfold. I could not but be sorry for her ; 
she looked so old and feeble, and yet with such purpose 
in her strong, stern face. I could afford to be pitiful 
now; my life was running on happy lines. I had won 
Marjory, and we had found' the treasure! 

I left her undisturbed ; I would have put some rug or 
covering over her; but I was afraid lest I should awake 
her, and so make discovery of our plans. Besides it 
would be hard to account for my being awake myself 
and about at that hour of the night or morning, I hardly 
knew which it was. Almost as hard as it would have 
been for Gormala to explain why she was in similar case. 

When I joined Marjory, we took our way as quickly 
as possible to Crom ; we were both anxious that she should 
get into the castle before daylight. It was with a certain 
dread, for the experiences of the night were not yet hard- 
ened in memory, that I saw Marjory descend into the 
cave when we rolled away the stone. She too was not 
free from misgiving; I knew it from the emphasis with 
which she impressed on me that I was not to fear for 

312 The Mystery of the Sea 

her. She was to wave a white handkerchief from the 
roof when she had got in safely. 

Looking over the stone towards the castle whence must 
come her signal I waited with an anxiety which I could 
not conceal from myself. The grey dawn grew paler and 
paler as I looked, and the sky began to quicken. Here 
and there around me came every now and again the soli- 
tary pipe of an awakening bird. I could just see the 
top of the castle, looking bare and cold through the vista 
between the treetops. In a short time, almost shorter 
than I could have anticipated, I saw on the roof the flutter 
of a white handkerchief. My heart leaped ; Marjory was 
safe. I waved my own handkerchief ; she answered again, 
and there was no more sign. I came away satisfied, and 
wheeled back to Cruden with what speed I could. It 
was still very early morning, when I reached Whinny- 
fold. Not a soul was up as I passed on my way, and I 
crept in secretly by the back of the house. 

When I looked carefully out of a window in front, I 
could see in the growing light of morning that Gormala 
still lay on the edge of the cliff, motionless and mani- 
festly asleep. 

I lay down for a while and dozed till the morning was 
sufficiently advanced. Then after a cold bath and a cup 
of hot tea, took my way to Crom, timing myself so as to 
arrive for an early breakfast. 

Mrs. Jack met me, beaming. She was so hearty, and 
so manifestly glad to see me, that I bent over and kissed 
her. She was not a bit displeased; she seemed a little 
touched by the act, and smiled at me. Then Marjory 
came in, looking radiant. She greeted me with a smile, 
and went over to and kissed Mrs. Jack affectionately. 
Then she kissed me too, and there was a glad look in her 
eyes which made my heart thrill. 

After breakfast she sat in the window with Mrs. Jack, 

The Duty of a Wife 313 

and I went to the fireplace to light a cigarette. I stood 
with my back to the fire and looked over at Marjory ; it 
was always a joy to me when she was in my sight. Pres- 
ently she said to Mrs. Jack: 

" Weren't you frightened when I didn't come back the 
night before last ? " The elderly lady smiled complacently 
as she answered : 

" Not a bit, my dear ! " Marjory was astonished into 
an exclamation : 

"Why not?" The affectionate old woman looked at 
her gravely and tenderly : 

" Because I knew you were with your husband ; the 
safest place where a young woman can be. And oh ! my 
dear, I was rejoiced that it was so ; for I was beginning 
to be anxious, and almost unhappy about you. It didn't 
seem right or natural for two young people like you and 
your husband to be living, one in one place and one in 
another." As she spoke she took Marjory's hand in hers 
and stroked it lovingly. Marjory turned her head away 
from her, and, after one swift glance at me from under her 
eyelashes, from me also. Mrs. Jack went on in a grave, 
sweet way, lecturing the girl she loved and that she had 
mothered ; not as a woman lectures a child but as an old 
woman advises her junior: 

" For oh ! Marjory, my dear one, when a woman takes 
a husband she gives up herself. It is right that she 
should; and it is better too, for us women. How can 
we look after our mankind, if we're thinking of ourselves 
all the time! And they want a lot of looking after too, 
let me tell you. They're only men after all the dears! 
Your bringing-up, my child, has not made you need them. 
But you would well understand it, if when you was a 
child, you was out on the plains and among the moun- 
tains, like I was ; if you didn't know when you saw your 
daddy, or your brother, or your husband go out in the 

314 The Mystery of the Sea 

morning whether you'd ever see him come back at night, 
or would see him brought back. And then, when the 
work was over, or the fight or whatever it might be, to 
see them come home all dirty and ragged and hungry, 
and may be sick or wounded for the Indians made a lot 
of harm in my time with their good old bows and their 
bad new guns where would we women and girls have 
been. Or what sort of women at all at all, if we didn't 
have things ready for them ! My dear, as I suppose you 
know now, a man is a mighty good sort of a thing after 
all. He may be cross, or masterful, or ugly to deal with 
when he has got his shirt out; but after all he's a man, 
and that's what we love them for. I was beginning to 
wonder if you was a girl at all, when I see you let your 
husband go away from you day after day and you not 
either holdin' him back, or goin' off with him, way the 
girls did in my time. I tell you it would have been a 
queer kind of girl in Arizony that'd have let her man go 
like that, when once they had said the word together. 
Why, my dear, I lay awake half the night say in' my 
prayers for the both of you, and blessin' God that He had 
sent you such a happiness as true love ; when there might 
have been them that would have ben runnin' after your 
fortun' and gettin' on your weak side enough to throw 
dust in your eyes. And when in the grey of the dawn 
I looked into your room and found you hadn't come, why 
I just tip-toed back to my bed and went to sleep happy. 
And I was happy all day, knowin' you were happy too. 
And last night I just went to sleep at once and didn't 
bother my head about listenin' for your comin' ; for well 
I knew you wouldn't be home then. Ah ! my dear, you've 
done the right thing. At the least, your husband's wishes 
is as much as your own, seein' as how there's two of you. 
But a woman only learns her true happiness when she 
gives up all her own wishes, and thinks only for her 

The Duty of a Wife 315 

husband. And, mind you, child, it isn't givin' up much 
after all at least we didn't think so in my time when 
she pleases her husband that she loves, by goin' off to 
share his home." 

I listened full of deep emotion as the old lady spoke. 
I felt that every word she said was crystallised truth; 
and there was no questioning the deep, earnest, loving- 
kindness of her intent. I was half afraid to look at Mar- 
jory lest I should disconcert her; so I turned round 
quietly till I faced the fireplace, and leaning on the plinth 
of it stole a glance in the old oval mirror above. Mar- 
jory sat there with her hand in Mrs. Jack's. Her head 
was bent, and there was a flush on her neck and arms 
which told its own story. I felt that she was silently cry- 
ing, or very near it ; and a lump rose in my own throat. 
This was one of the crises in her life. It was so borne in 
upon me; and I knew its truth. We have all, as the 
Scotch say, to " dree our own weird," this was a battle 
with her own soul which Marjory must fight alone. The 
old woman's wise words sounded a trumpet note of duty. 
She was face to face with it, and must judge for herself. 
Even with all my love, I could not help her. I stood 
silent, scarcely daring to breathe lest I should disturb or 
distract her. I tried to efface myself, and for a few 
minutes did not even look in the mirror. The old woman 
too, knew the value of silence, for she sat still ; there was 
not even the rustle of her dress. At last I could hear 
Marjory's in-drawn breath, and looked in the mirror. 
Her attitude had not changed, except that she had raised 
her head ; I could tell by its proud poise that she was her 
own woman again. She still kept her face away; and 
there was the veil of recent tears over her sweet voice as 
she spoke tenderly : 

" Thank you, dear. I am so glad you have spoken to 
me so freely and so lovingly." I could see from the 

316 The Mystery of the Sea 

motion of the two hands and her own whitening knuckles 
that she was squeezing her companion's fingers. Then, 
after a few moments she rose quietly, and, still keeping 
her head averted, sailed quietly out of the room in her own 
graceful manner. I did not stir ; I felt that I could please 
her best by keeping quiet. 
But oh ! how my heart went with her in her course. 




1 CHATTED with Mrs. Jack for a few minutes with 
what nonchalance I could muster, for I wanted to 
cover up Marjory's retreat. I have not the faintest 
idea what we talked about ; I only know that the dear old 
lady sat and beamed on me, with her lips pursed up in 
thought, and went on with her knitting. She agreed with 
everything I said, whatever it was. I longed to follow 
Marjory and comfort her. I could see that she was dis- 
tressed, though I did not know the measure of it. I 
waited patiently, however, for I knew that she would 
either come to me, or send me word to join her when she 
wanted me. 

She must have come back very quietly, almost tip-toe, 
for I had not heard a sound when I saw her in the door- 
way. She was beckoning to me, but in such a manner 
that Mrs. Jack could not see her. I was about to go 
quietly, but she held up a warning hand with five fingers 
outspread ; from which I took it that I was to follow in 
five minutes. 

I stole away quietly, priding myself on the fact that 
Mrs. Jack did not notice my departure; but on thinking 
the matter over later, I came to the conclusion that the 
quiet old lady knew a good deal more of what was going 
on round her than appeared on the surface. Her little 
homily to Marjory on a wife's duty has set me thinking 
many a time since. 

318 The Mystery of the Sea 

I found Marjory, as I expected, in the Ladies' Room. 
She was looking out of the window when I came in. I 
took her in my arms for an instant, and she laid her head 
on my shoulder. Then she drew herself away, and 
pointed to a great chair close by for me to sit down. 
When I was seated she took a little stool, and placing it 
beside me, sat at my feet. From our position I had to 
look down at her, and she had to look up at me. Often 
and often since then have I recalled the picture she made, 
sitting there in her sweet graceful simplicity. Well may 
I remember it, for through many and many an aching 
hour has every incident of that day, however trivial, been 
burned into my brain. Marjory leant one elbow on the 
arm of my chair, and put the other hand in mine with a 
sweet confiding gesture which touched me to the heart. 
Since our peril of two nights before, she was very, very 
dear to me. All the selfishness seemed to have disap- 
peared from my affection for her, and I was her true 
lover as purely as it is given to a man to be. She wanted 
to speak; I could see that it was an effort to do so, for 
her breast heaved a few times, as a diver breathes before 
making his downward leap. Then she mastered herself, 
and with infinite grace and tenderness spoke: 

" I'm afraid I have been very selfish and inconsiderate. 
Oh ! yes I have " for I was commencing a protest. " I 
know it now. Mrs. Jack was quite right. It never oc- 
curred to me what a brute I have been ; and you so good 
to me, and so patient. Well, dear, that's all over now ! 
I want to tell you, right here, that if you like I'll go away 
with you to-morrow to-day if you wish; and we'll let 
every one know that we are married, and go and live 
together." She stopped, and we sat hand in hand with 
our fingers clasping. I remained quite still with a calm 
that amazed me, for my brain was in a whirl. But some- 
how there came to me, even as it had come to her, a sense 

An Unexpected Visitor 319 

of duty. How could I accept such a sweet sacrifice. The 
very gravity of her preparation for thought and speech 
showed me that she was loth to leave the course on which 
she had entered. That she loved me I had no doubt; 
was it not for me that she was willing to give it all up. 
And then my course of action rose clear before me. In- 
stinctively I stood up as I spoke to her, and I felt that big 
stalwart man as I was, the pretty self-denying girl at my 
feet ruled me, for she was more to me than my own 
wishes, my own hopes, my own soul. 

" Marjory, do you remember when you sat on the 
throne in the cave, and gave me the accolade ? " She 
bowed her head in acquiescence; her eyes fell, and her 
face and ears grew rosy pink. " Well, when you dubbed 
me your knight, and I took the vow, I meant all I said ! 
Your touch on my shoulder was more to me than if it had 
come from the Queen on her throne, with all the glory 
of a thousand years behind her. Oh, my dear, I was in 
earnest in earnest then, as I am in earnest now. I was, 
and am, your true knight ! You are my lady ; to serve, 
and make her feet walk in easy ways! It is a terrible 
temptation to me to take what you have offered as done, 
and walk straightway into Paradise in our new life. But, 
my dear ! my dear ! I too can be selfish if I am tempted 
too far; and I must not think of my own wishes alone. 
Since I first saw your face I have dreamt a dream. That 
a time would come when you, with all the world to choose 
from, would come to me of your own free will. When 
you wouldn't want to look back with regret at anything, 
done or undone. I want you to be happy; to look for- 
ward only unless the backward thought is of happiness. 
Now, if you give up your purpose and come to me with 
the feeling that you have only made a choice, the regret 
that you did not have the opportunity you longed for, 
may grow and grow, till till it may become an unhappi- 

320 The Mystery of the Sea 

ness. Let me be sententious for a moment. ' Remember 
Lot's wife ' was not merely the warning of a fact ; it 
touched a great allegory. You and I are young; we are 
both happy; we have all the world before us, and num- 
berless good things to thank God for. I want you to 
enjoy them to the full ; and, my dear one, I will not stand 
in your way in anything which you may wish. Be free, 
Marjory, be quite free! The girl I want beside my 
hearth is one who would rather be there than anywhere 
else in the wide world. Isn't that worth wishing for; 
isn't it worth waiting for ? It may be selfish in the high- 
est plane of selfishness ; I suppose it is. But anyhow, it 
is my dream ; and I love you so truly and so steadfastly 
that I am not afraid to wait ! " 

As I spoke, Marjory looked at me lovingly, more and 
more. Then all at once she broke down, and began to 
sob and cry as if her heart would break. That swept 
away in a moment all my self-command ; I took her in my 
arms and tried to comfort her. Kisses and sweet words 
fairly rained upon her. Presently she grew calm, and 
said as she gently disengaged herself: 

" You don't know how well you argue. I'm nearer at 
this moment to giving up all my plans, than I ever 
thought I should be in my life. Wait a little longer, 
dear. Only a little ; the time may be shorter than you 
think. But this you may take for your comfort now, and 
your remembrance later; that in all my life, whatever 
may come, I shall never forget your goodness to me, 
your generosity, your love, your sympathy your ! 
But there, you are indeed my Knight; and I love you 
with all my heart and soul ! " and she threw herself into 
my arms. 

When I left Crom after lunch the weather seemed to 
have changed. There was a coldness in the air which 
emphasised the rustling of the dry leaves as they were 

An Unexpected Visitor 321 

swept by intermittent puffs of wind. AltogetHer there 
was a sense of some presage of gloom or disaster of 
discontent, I knew not what. I was loth to part with 
Marjory, but we both felt it was necessary I should go. 
I had not had my letters for three days ; and besides 
there were a thousand things to be attended to about 
the house at Whinnyfold. Moreover, we began to think 
of the treasure, the portable part of which the jewels 
was left almost open in the dining room. I did not want 
to alarm Marjory by any dim fears of my own ; I knew 
that, in any case, there might be a reaction from her pres- 
ent high spirits. The remembrance of the trials and 
anxieties of the past few days would come back to her 
in the silence of the night. She saw, however, with the 
new eyes of her wifely love, that I was anxious about 
something; justly inferring that it was about her, she 
said to me quietly : 

" You need not be alarmed about me, darling. I 
promise you I shall not stir out of the house till you 
come. But you will come as early as you can to-morrow ; 
won't you. Somehow, I don't like your leaving me now. 
I used not to mind it; but to-day it all seems different. 
We don't seem to be the same to each other, do we, 
since we felt that water creep up us in the dark. How- 
ever, I shall be very good. I have a lot of work to do, 
and letters to write; and the time may not go so very 
slowly, or seem so very long, till I see my husband 

Oh ! it was sweet to look in her eyes, and see the love 
that shone from them ; to hear the delicate cooing music 
of her voice. My heart seemed to fly back to her as I 
moved away; and every step I took, its strings seemed 
nearer and nearer to the breaking point. When I looked 
back at the turn of the winding avenue between the fir 
trees, the last I saw through my dimming eyes was the 


322 The Mystery of the Sea 

wave of her hand and the shining of her eyes blending 
into one mass of white light. 

In my rooms at the hotel I found a lot of letters about 
business, and a few from friends. There was one how- 
ever which made me think. It was in the writing of 
Adams, and was as follows, no place or date being 
given : 

" The people at Crom had better be careful of their 
servants ! There is a footman who often goes out after 
dark and returns just before morning. He may be in 
league with enemies. Anyhow, where he gets out and 
in, and how, others may do the same. Verb, sap, suff. 

We had been watched then, and by the Secret Service 
detectives. I was glad that Marjory had promised not 
to go out till I came. If " Mac's men " had seen her, 
others might also ; and the eyes of the others might have 
been more penetrating, or their reasoning powers more 
keen. However, I thought it well to send her a word 
of warning. I copied Adams's letter into mine, with just 
a word or two of love added. I was amazed to find that 
altogether it ran to several pages! The gillie of the 
hotel took it over in a pony cart, with instructions to 
bring me back an answer to Whinnyfold. For safety I 
enclosed it in an envelope to Mrs. Jack. Then, when I 
had written a few notes and telegrams, I biked over to 
my house on the cliff. 

It was a bleak afternoon and everything seemed grey, 
sky and sea alike; even the rocks, with their crowning 
of black seaweed swept with the foam of lapping waves. 
Inside the house nothing had of course been stirred ; but 
it seemed so bleak without a fire and with the curtains 
wide, that I made up a fire of billets and drew the heavy 
curtains close. As I stood in the great bay window 
and looked out on the fretting sea, and listened to the 

An Unexpected Visitor 323 

soughing of the rising wind, a great melancholy seemed 
to steal over me, so that I became in a way lost in a mist 
of gloom. So far as I remember, my thoughts were 
back with the time when I had seen the procession of 
the dead coming up out of the sea from the Skares be- 
yond, and of the fierce looking Spaniard who walked 
alone in their ranks and looked at me with living eyes. 
I must have been in a sort of day-dream and unconscious 
of all around me ; for, though I had not noticed any one 
approaching, I was startled by a knocking at the door. 
The house was not quite finished; there were electric 
bells in position, but they had not yet been charged, and 
there was no knocker on the door. The knocking was 
that of bare knuckles on a panel. I thought of course 
that it was the gillie back from Crom, for I did not 
expect any one else; so I went at once and opened the 
door. I recoiled with pure wonder. There, looking; 
grave and dignified, an incarnation of the word ' gentle- 
man ' stood Don Bernardino. His eyes, though now 
serene, and even kindly, were the eyes of the dead man 
from the sea. Behind him, a few yards off, stood Gormala 
MacNiel with an eager look on her face, half concealed by 
such a grin as made me feel as though I had been trapped, 
or in some way brought to book. The Spaniard at once 
spoke : 

" Sir, your pardon ! I wish much that I may speak 
with you in private, and soon. Forgive me if that I 
trouble you, but it is on a matter of such moment, to me 
at the least, that I have ventured an intrusion. I learned 
at the hotel that you had hither come; so with the 
guidance of this good lady, who did me much inform, I 
have found." As he spoke of Gormala, he half turned 
and made a gesture towards her. She had been watch- 
ing our every movement with cat-like eagerness ; but 
when she saw that we were speaking of her, a dark look 

324 The Mystery of the Sea 

swept her face, and she moved away scowling. The 
Spaniard went on : 

" What I have to say is secret, and I would be alone 
with you. May it be that I enter your house; or will 
you come to mine? I do not mean my castle of Crom, 
but the house at Ellon which I have taken, until such 
time as the Senora Jack and that so fair patriot of hers 
shall wish to leave it." His manner was so gravely cour- 
teous and his bearing so noble, that I found it almost 
impossible to mistrust him, even when there flashed 
across my memory that dark red-eyed look of his at 
Crom, which recalled so vividly the dead Spaniard with 
the living eyes of hate in the procession of ghosts from 
the Skares. I felt that, in any case, it could not do any 
harm to hear what he had to say : ' Forewarned is fore- 
armed ' is a good apothegm in dealing with an enemy. 
I motioned him into the house ; he bowed gravely and 
entered. As I shut the door behind us, I caught sight 
of Gormala with an eager look on her face stealing 
swiftly towards the house. She evidently wanted to be 
near enough to watch, and to hear if she could. 

As I was opening the door of the drawing-room for 
Don Bernardino to enter, a sudden glimpse of its interior, 
seen in the dim light through the chinks of the shutters, 
changed my plans. This was the room improvised as a 
dressing room for Marjory, and the clothes which she 
had worn in the cave were scattered about the room, 
hung over the backs of chairs to dry. Her toilet matters 
also were on the table. Altogether I felt that to bring 
the stranger into the room would not only be an in- 
delicacy towards my wife, but might in some way give a 
clue to our enemy to guess our secret. With a hasty 
excuse I closed the door and motioned my guest into the 
dining room across the hall. I asked him to be seated, 
and then went over to the window and pulled aside the 

An Unexpected Visitor 325 

curtains to give us light. I felt that somehow I was 
safer in the light, and that it might enable me to learn 
more than I could have done in the dim twilight of the 
curtained room. 

When I turned round, the Spaniard was still standing, 
facing me. He appeared to be studiously keeping him- 
self still ; but I could see that under his long black lashes 
his eyes were roaming round the room. Unconsciously 
to myself, as I know now, my eyes followed his and took 
in the frightful untidiness of the place. The great hearth 
was piled with extinct ashes ; the table was littered with 
unwashed cups and plates and dishes, for we had not 
cleared up anything after our night in the cave. Rugs 
and pillows were massed untidily on the floor, and the 
stale provisions on the table made themselves manifest 
in the close atmosphere of the room. I was moving over 
to throw up the window so as to let in a little fresh air, 
when I remembered that Gormala was probably outside 
with her ears strained close to the wall to hear anything 
that we might say. So, instead, I apologised for the dis- 
order, saying that I had camped me there for some days 
whilst working at my book the excuse I had given at 
the hotel for my spells of solitary life. 

The Spaniard bowed low with grave courtesy, and 
implored that I would make no apology. If there were 
anything not perfect, and for himself he did not see it, 
such deficiencies were swept away and lost in the tide of 
honour with which I had overwhelmed him in the per- 
mission to enter my house; and much more to the same 

Then he came to the serious side of things and began 
to speak to the point. 


44"^|ENOR, you may wonder why I am here, and 
^^ why I would speak with you alone and in 
^^ secret. You have seen me only in a place, 
which though my own by birthright, was dominated by the 
presence of ladies, who alas ! by their nationality and the 
stress of war were mine enemies. From you is not 
such. Our nations are at peace, and there is no personal 
reason why we should not be of the most friendly. I 
come to you, Senor, because it is borne to me that you 
are cavalier. You can be secret if you will, and you will 
recognise the claims of honour and duty, of the highest. 
The common people know it not ; and for the dear ladies 
who have their own honour, our duties in such are not 
a part of their lives nay ! they are beyond and above the 
life as it is to us. I need not tell you of a secret duty 
of my family, for it is known to me that all of such is 
already with you. The secret of the Pope's treasure and 
of the duty of my House to guard and restore it has been 
in your mind. Oh yes, this I know " for he saw I was 
about to speak. " Have I not seen in your hands that 
portion of the book, so long lost ! " Here he stopped and 
his eyes narrowed ; some thought of danger, necessitating 
caution, liad come to him. I, too, was silent ; I wanted to 
think. Unless I had utterly misconceived him, he had 
made an extraordinary admission; one which had given 
him away completely. The only occasion on which I 


The Redemption of a Trust 327 

had seen him was when he had pointed out to us that the 
pages which I had found belonged to the book in the 
library. It is true that we had suggested to him that there 
was a cipher in the marking of the letters, but he had not 
acknowledged it. At the time he certainly did not convey 
the idea to us that he believed we had grasped the secret. 
How then did he know; or on what assumption did he 
venture to state that I knew his secret. Here was a diffi- 
cult point to pass. If I were silent he would take all for 
granted ; in such case I might not learn anything of his 
purpose. So I spoke: 

" Your pardon, Sir, but you presume a knowledge on 
my part of some secret history of your family and of a 
treasure of the Pope; and then account for it that you 
have seen in my hand the book, a part of which was long 
lost. Am I to take it that because there is, or may be, a 
secret, any one who suspects that there is one must know 
it ? " The steady eyes of the Spaniard closed, narrower 
and narrower still, till the pupils looked like those of a 
cat in the dark ; a narrow slit with a cavern of fire within. 
For fully half a minute he continued to look at me stead- 
ily, and I own that I felt disconcerted. In this matter he 
had the advantage of me. I knew that what he said was 
true ; I did know the secret of the buried treasure. He 
had some way of knowing the extent of my knowledge 
of the matter. He was, so far, all truth ; I was prevaricat- 
ing and we both knew it! All at once he spoke; as 
though his mind were made up, and he would speak 
openly and frankly. The frankness of a Latin was a fell 
and strange affair: 

" Why shall we beat about the bush. I know ; you 
know ; and we both know that the other knows. I have 
read what you have written of the secret which you have 
drawn from those marked pages of the law book." 

As he spoke the whole detail of his visit to Crom rose 

328 The Mystery of the Sea 

before me. At that time he had only seen the printed 
pages of the cipher ; he had not seen my transcript which 
had lain, face down, upon the table. We had turned it, 
on hearing some one coming in. 

" Then you have been to the castle again ! " I said 
suddenly. My object was to disconcert him, but it did 
not succeed. In his saturnine frankness had been a com- 
plete intention, which was now his protection against 

" Yes ! " he said slowly, and with a smile which showed 
his teeth, like the wolf's to Red Ridinghood. 

" Strange, they did not tell me at Crom," I said as 
though to myself. 

" They did not know ! " he answered. " When next I 
visited my own house, it was at night, and by a way not 
known, save to myself." As he spoke, the canine teeth 
began to show. He knew that what he had to tell was 
wrong ; and being determined to brazen it out, the cruelty 
which lay behind his strength became manifest at once. 
Somehow at that moment the racial instinct manifested 
itself. Spain was once the possession of the Moors, and 
the noblest of the old families had some black blood in 
them. In Spain, such is not, as in the West, a taint. 
The old diabolism whence sprung fantee and hoo-doo 
seemed to gleam out in the grim smile of incarnate, re- 
bellious purpose. It was my cue to throw my antagonist 
off his guard; to attack the composite character in such 
way that one part would betray the other. 

" Strange ! " I said, as though to myself again. " To 
come in secret into a house occupied by another is 
amongst civilised people regarded as an offence ! " 

" The house is my own ! " he retorted quickly, with a 
swarthy flush. 

" Strange, again ! " I said. " When Mrs. Jack rented 
the castle, there was no clause in her agreement of a right 

The Redemption of a Trust 329 

to the owner to enter by a secret way ! On the contrary 
such rights as the owner reserved were exactly specified." 

" A man has a right to enter his own house, when and 
how he will; and to protect the property which is being 
filched from him by strangers ! " He said the last words 
with such manifest intention of offence that I stood on 
guard. Evidently he wanted to anger me, as I had an- 
gered him. I determined that thenceforward I should 
not let anything which he might say ruffle me. I replied 
with deliberate exasperation : 

" The law provides remedies for any wrongs done. It 
does not, that I know of, allow a man to enter secretly 
into a house that he has let to another. There is an 
implied contract of peaceful possession, unless entry be 
specified in the agreement." He answered disdainfully: 

" My agent had no right to let, without protecting such 
a right." 

" Ah, but he did ; and in law we are bound by the acts 
of our agents. ' Facit per alium ' is a maxim of law. And 
as to filching, let me tell you that all your property at 
Crom is intact. The pieces of paper that you claimed 
were left in the book ; and the book has remained as you 
yourself placed it on the shelf. I have Mrs. Jack's word 
that it would be so." He was silent; so, as it was neces- 
sary that the facts as they existed should be spoken of 
between us, I went on : 

" Am I to take it that you read the private papers on 
the table of the library during your nocturnal visit? By 
the way, I suppose it was nocturnal." 

" It was." 

" Then sir," I spoke sharply now, " who has done the 
filching? We Miss Drake and I by chance discovered 
those papers. As a matter of fact they were in an oaken 
chest which I bought at an auction in the streets of Peter- 
head. We suspected a cipher and worked at it till we 

33 The Mystery of the Sea 

laid bare tHe mystery. This is what we have done; we 
who were even ignorant of your name ! Now, what have 
you done? You come as an admitted guest, by permis- 
sion, into a house taken in all good faith by strangers. 
When there you recognised some papers which had been 
lost. We restored them to you. Honour demanded that 
you should have been open with us after this. Did you 
ask if we had discovered the secret of the trust? No! 
You went away openly ; and came back like a thief in the 
night and filched our secret Yes sir, you did ! " He had 
raised his hand in indignant protest. " It was our secret 
then, not yours. Had you interpreted the secret cipher 
for yourself, you would have been within your rights ; 
and I should have had nothing to say. We offered to let 
you take the book with you ; but you refused. It is evi- 
dent that you did not know the whole secret of the treas- 
ure. That you knew there was a treasure and a secret I 
admit ; but the key of it, which we had won through toil, 
you stole from us ! " 

" Senor ! " the voice was peremptory and full of all 
that was best and noblest in the man. " A de Escoban is 
not wont to hear such an allegation ; and he who makes 
such shall in the end have his own death to answer for! " 
He stopped suddenly, and at his stopping I exulted 
secretly; though I wished to punish him for his insinua- 
tion that Marjory had filched from him, I had no desire 
to become entangled in a duel. I was determined to go 
on, however ; for I would not, at any hazard, pass a slight 
upon my peerless wife. I think that his sudden pause 
meant thought; and thought meant a peaceful solution 
of things on my own lines. Nevertheless, I went on 
forcing the issue : 

" I rejoice, sir, that you are not accustomed to hear 
such allegations ; I trust that you are also not accustomed 
to deserve them ! " By this time he was calm again, icily 

The Redemption of a Trust 331 

calm. It was wonderful with what rapidity, and how 
widely, the pendulum of his nature swung between pride 
and passion. All at once he smiled again, the same deadly, 
dreadful smile which he imagined to be the expression 
of frankness. 

" I see I am punished ! 'Twas I that first spoke of 
stealing. Senor, you have shown me that I was wrong. 
My pardon to that so good lady who is guest of my 
house ; and also to that other patriotic one who so adorns 
it. Now let me say, since to defend myself is thrust upon 
me, that you, who have, with so much skill made clear 
the hidden mystery of that law book which I have only 
lately read, know best of all men how I am bound to do 
all things to protect my trust. I am bound, despite my- 
self, even if it were not a duty gladly undertaken for the 
sake of the dead. It was not I who so undertook; but 
still I am bound even more than he who did. I stand 
between law and honour, between life and death, helpless. 
Senor, were you in my place, would you not, too, have 
acted as I did? Would you not do so, knowing that 
there was a secret which you could not even try to unravel, 
since long ago that in which it was hidden had been stolen 
or lost. Would you not do so, knowing, too, that some 
othjer in all good faith and innocence let us say had 
already made discovery which might mock your hopes 
and nullify the force of that long vigil, to which ten 
generations of men, giving up all else, had sacrificed 
themselves? Would not you, too, have come in secret 
and made what discovery you could. Discovery of your 
own, mark you! Would not also that, lady so patriotic, 
to whom all things come after that devotion to her coun- 
try, which so great she holds ? " 

Whilst he was speaking I had been thinking. The pre- 
tence of ignorance was all over to both of us ; he knew 
our knowledge of the secret trust, and we knew that he 

33 2 The Mystery of the Sea 

knew. The only thing of which he was yet ignorant, 
was that we had discovered the treasure itself. There 
was nothing to be gained by disputing points of con- 
jectural morals. Of course he was right ; had either Mar- 
jory or myself considered ourselves bound by such a duty 
as lay so heavy on him we should have done the same. I 
bowed as I answered; 

" Sir, you are right ! Any man who held to such a 
duty would have done the same." 

" Senor," he answered quickly, " I thank you with all 
my heart ! " Poor fellow, at that moment I pitied him. 
The sudden flash of joy that leaped to his face showed by 
reaction in what a hell he must have of late been living. 
This momentary episode seemed to have wiped away 
all his bitterness ; it was in quite a different way that he 
spoke again : 

" And now, Senor, since your engaging frankness has 
made my heart so glad, may I ask further of your kind- 
ness. Believe me that it is not of my own will, but from 
an unbending sense of duty that I do and may have to do 
such things ; my life till lately has been otherwise, oh ! so 
much so! You have the feelings of honour yourself; 
like me you are also man of the world, and as such we 
can sacrifice all things save honour. Is there no way in 
which you can aid me to fulfill my trust ; and let there be 
peace between us ? " He looked at me anxiously ; I said : 

" I fear I hardly understand ? " With manifest em- 
barassment he went on ; 

"You will forgive me if I err again; but this time I 
must make myself clear. It is manifest to me that in 
these days of science nothing can long remain hidden, 
when once a clue has been found. You already know so 
much that I am placed almost as though the treasure 
has already been found. Thereafter where am I; what 
am I ? One who has failed in his trust. Who has allowed 

The Redemption of a Trust 333 

another to step in; and so dishonour him! A moment, 
Senor, and I am done," for he saw that I was about to 
speak. " It is not the treasure itself that I value, but the 
trust. If I could make it safe by the sacrifice of all my 
possessions I would gladly do so. Senor, you are still 
free. You have but to abandon your quest. It is not to 
you a duty ; and therefore you sacrifice naught of honour 
should you abandon it. Here I pledge to you and, oh 
Senor, I pray have patience that you take no affront that 
I do so that in such case I shall give to you all that I 
have. Give it gladly! So, I may redeem the trust of 
my House ; and go out into the wide world, though it may 
be as a beggar, yet free free! Oh! pause, Senor, and 
think. I am rich in the world's goods. My ancestors 
were of vast wealth; even at that time when the great 
Bernardino did give his ship to his king. And for three 
centuries all have been prudent ; and all their possessions 
have grown. There are vast lands of corn, great forests, 
many castles, whole ranges of mountains as yet un- 
touched for their varied treasures which are vast. There 
are seaports and villages ; and in all, the dwellers are 
happy and content. I am the last of my race. There is 
none to inherit ; so I am free to pledge myself." He did 
not bow or bend ; there was no persistence of request in 
his voice, or tone, or manner. In all there was no feeling 
of a bargain. It was an offer, based on the fulfillment 
of his own desires ; given in such a lordly way that there 
could be no offence in it. He recognised so thoroughly 
the strength of my own position, that the base side of 
barter became obliterated ; it was an exchange of goods 
between gentlemen. Such, at least, I recognised was his 
intellectual position; my own remained the same. How 
could I, or any man, take advantage of such an offer. 
After thinking a few seconds I said to him : 

" Sir, you have honoured me by grouping us as men 

334 The Mystery of the Sea 

of honour. What would you do in my place ? " His eye 
brightened, and his breath came more quickly as he 
replied : 

" Were it my case, I should say : ' Senor, your duty is 
one of honour; mine is one of gain. There can be no 
comparisons. Fulfill your debt to your forefathers! 
Redeem the pledge that they have made in your name! 
Discover your treasure ; and be free ! " There was infi- 
nite pride in his voice and manner ; I think he really meant 
what he said. 1 went on with my questioning: 

" And what about the taking of your estate as a reward 
of forbearance ? " 

He shrugged his shoulders : " For that," he said, " it 
matters not." 

" Ah, for you to give you mean ? " He nodded. 

" But what for me to take ? Would you do so in my 
place ? " He was manifestly in a dilemma. I could see 
something of the working of his mind in his face. If he 
said he would himself take it, he would manifestly lower 
himself in his own eyes; and to such pride as his, his 
own self-respect was more than the respect of others, in 
proportion to his self-value. If he said he would not, 
then he might peril his chance of getting what he de- 
sired. The temptation was a cruel one ; with all my heart 
I honoured him for his answer, given with the fullness 
of his mighty pride : 

" Senor, I can die ; I cannot stoop ! But what avails 
my own idea ? The answer is not for me ! I have offered 
all I have. I will in addition pledge myself to hold my 
life at your service when this great trust is relieved. To 
this my honour is guardian; you need not fear it shall 
be redeemed ! Now Senor, you have my answer ! To 
redeem the trust of my sires I give all I have in the world, 
except my honour ! The answer rests with you ! " 


THERE was no doubt that the Spaniard's devotion 
to his cause placed me in a considerable diffi- 
culty. I could not disguise from myself that he 
put forward a very strong claim for the consideration of 
one gentleman by another. It was only on hurriedly 
thinking the matter over that the weakness of his cause 
was apparent. Had the whole affair been a private or 
personal one ; had the treasure belonged to his ancestors, 
I should have found it in my own heart a very difficult 
matter to gainsay him, and be subsequently at ease with 
myself. I remembered, however, that the matter was a 
public one. The treasure was collected by enemies of 
England for the purpose of destroying England's liberty, 
and so the liberty of the whole human race for which it 
made. It was sent in charge of a personal enemy of the 
country in a ship of war, one of many built for the pur- 
pose of invading and conquering England. In time of 
national stress, when the guns were actually thundering 
along our coast from the Thames to the Tyne, the treas- 
ure had been hidden so as to preserve it for future use 
in its destined way. Though centuries had passed, it was 
still held in mind; and the very men who had guarded 
it were, whilst professing to be -Britons, secret enemies 
of the country, and devoted to her ultimate undoing. 
Beyond this again, there was another reason for not giv- 
ing it up which appealed to me more strongly than the 


336 The Mystery of the Sea 

claim of my own natural duty, because it came to me 
through Marjory. Though Spain was at peace with my 
country, it was at war with hers ; the treasure collected 
to harm England might nay, would be used to harm 
America. Spain was impoverished to the last degree. 
Her treasuries were empty, her unpaid soldiers clamour- 
ous for their arrears. Owing to want at home, there was 
in places something like anarchy ; abroad there was such 
lack of all things, ships, men, stores, cannon, ammunition, 
that the evil of want came across the seas to the states- 
men of the Quirinal with heart-breaking persistence. 
America, unprepared for war at first, was day by day 
becoming better equipped. The panic had abated which 
had set in on the seaboard towns from Maine to Califor- 
nia, when each found itself at the mercy of a Spanish 
fleet sweeping the seas, no man knew where. Now if 
ever, money would be of value to impoverished Spain. 
This great treasure, piled up by the Latin for the 
conquering of the Anglo-Saxon, and rescued from its 
burial of three centuries, would come in the nick of time 
to fulfill its racial mission; though that mission might 
be against a new branch of the ancient foe of Spain, 
whose roots only had been laid when the great Armada 
swept out in all its pride and glory on its conquering 
essay. I needed no angel to tell me what would be Mar- 
jory's answer, were such a proposition made to her. I 
could see in my mind's eye the uprearing of her tall 
figure in all its pride and beauty, the flashing of her eyes 
with that light of patriotic fire which I knew so well, the 
set of her mouth, the widening of her nostril, the wrink- 
ling of her ivory forehead as the brows were raised in 


" Sir," said I with what dignity I had, " the matter is 
not for you or me to decide. Not for us both ! This is an 
affair of two nations, or rather of three: The Papacy, 

Treasure Trove 337 

the Spaniard, the Briton. Nay, it touches another also, 
for the lady who shares the secret with me represents 
the country with which your nation is at war ! " The 
Spaniard was manifestly baffled; the red, hellish light 
shone in his eyes again. His anger found expression 
in a sneer: 

" Ah ! so I suppose you do not propose to deal with the 
treasure, when found, as a private matter ; but shall hand 
it over to your government to deal with ! " The best 
answer to his scorn was complacency; so I said quietly: 

" There again we are in a difficulty. You see, my dear 
fellow, no one exactly knows how we stand in this mat- 
ter. The law of Treasure Trove, as we call it in this 
country, is in a most chaotic state. I have been looking 
it up since I undertook this quest; and I am rather sur- 
prised that in all the years that have elapsed since our 
practical law-making began, nothing has been done to 
put such matters on an exact basis. The law, such as 
it is, seems to rest on Royal Prerogative; but what the 
base of that prerogative is, no one seems exactly to know. 
And besides, in the various constitutional changes, and 
the customs of different dynasties, there are, or certainly 
there may be, barriers to the assertion of any Crown right 
certainly to the fulfillment of such ! " He seemed 
staggered. He had manifestly never regarded the mat- 
ter as other than the recovery of property entrusted to 
him through his ancestors. I took advantage of his 
mental disturbance ; and as I myself wanted time to think, 
so that I might fix on some course of action which would 
suit Marjory's wishes as well as my own, I began to tell 
him the impression left on my mind by such study of 
the subject of Treasure Trove as I had been able to 
achieve. I quoted now and again from notes made in 
my pocket book. 

" The Scotch law is much the same as the English ; 


338 The Mystery of the Sea 

and as we are in Scotland, we are of course governed by 
the former. The great point of difference, seen with 
the eyes of a finder, is that in Scotland the fraudulent 
concealment of Treasure Trove is not a criminal offence, 
as it is in England. Thus, from my point of view, I have 
nothing to fear as to results ; for though by the General 
Police Act the finder is bound to report the find to the 
Chief Constable, the statute only applies to things found 
on roads or in public places. So far as this treasure is 
concerned, it may turn out that it can, in a sense, be no 
treasure trove at all." 

" According to Blackstone, treasure trove is where any 
money or coin, gold, silver, plate or bullion is found 
hidden in the earth or other private place, the owner 
thereof being unknown. If found upon the earth, or in 
the sea, it belongs, not to the Crown, but to the finder, 
if no owner appears. It is the hiding, not the abandon- 
ing, which gives the Crown the property." 

" Coin or bullion found at the bottom of a lake or in 
the bed of a river is not treasure trove. It is not hidden 
in the earth." 

" The right of the Crown is ... limited to gold 
or silver, bullion or coin. It extends to nothing 
else." . . . 

When I had got thus far the Spaniard interrupted me : 

" But sir, in all these that you say, the rights of the 
owner seem to be recognised even in your law." 

" Ah, but there comes in again a fresh difficulty ; or 
rather a fresh series of difficulties, beginning with what 
is, in the eye of the law, the ' owner.' Let us for a mo- 
ment take your case. You claim this treasure if it 
can be found as held by you for the original possessor. 
The original possessor was, I take it, the Pope, who sent 
it with the Armada, to be used for the conversion or sub- 
duing of England. We will take the purpose later, but 

Treasure Trove 339 

in the meantime we are agreed that the original owner 
was Pope Sixtus V. Now, the Popedom is an office, 
and on the death of one incumbent his successor takes 
over all his rights and powers and privileges whatever 
they may be. Thus, the Pope of to-day stands in exactly 
the same position as did Pope Sixtus V, when he sent 
through King Philip, and in trust of Bernardino de 
Escoban the aforesaid treasure." I felt that the words 
' aforesaid treasure ' sounded very legal ; it helped to 
consolidate even my own ideas as I went along. " So, 
too, you as the representative of your own family, are 
in the same position of original trustee as was your 
great ancestor of which this record takes cognisance." 
This too was convincingly legal in sound. " I do not 
think that British law would recognise your position, or 
that of your predecessors in the trust, in the same way 
as it would the continuation of the ownership, if any, on 
the part of the succession of the Popes. However, for 
the sake of the argument, let us take it they would be of 
equal force. If this be so, the claim of ownership and 
guardianship would be complete." As I paused, the 
Spaniard who had been listening to me with pent up 
breath, breathed more freely. With a graceful move- 
ment, which was almost a bow, he said : 

" If so that you recognise the continued ownership, 
and if you speak as the exponent of the British law, 
wherein then is the difficulty of ownership at all ; should 
it be that the treasure may be found ? " Here was the 
real difficulty of both my own argument and Don Ber- 
nardino's. For my own part, I had not the faintest idea 
of what the law might be ; but I could see easily enough 
that great issues might be raised for the British side 
against the Spanish. As I had to ' bluff ' my opponent 
to a certain extent, I added the impressions of personal 
conviction to my manner as I answered : 

34 The Mystery of the Sea 

" Have you considered what you, or rather your pred- 
ecessors in title and trust, have done to forfeit any 
rights which you may have had ? " He paled and was 
visibly staggered; it was evident that this view of the 
question had not entered his mind. The mere sugges- 
tion of the matter now opened up for him grave possi- 
bilities. His lips grew dry, and it was with a voice 
hoarser than hitherto that, after a pause, he said: 

"Go on!" 

" This treasure was sent, in time of war, by the ene- 
mies of England, for the purpose of her undoing that 
is her undoing from the point of view of the established 
government of the time. It was in itself an act of war. 
The very documents that could, or can, prove the origi- 
nal ownership, would serve to prove the hostile intent 
of such owners in sending it. Remember, that it came in 
a warship, one of the great Armada built and brought 
together to attack this country. The owner of the treas- 
ure, the Pope, gave it in trust for the cestui que trust, the 
King of Spain to your ancestor Bernardino de Escoban, 
as hereditary trustee. Your ancestor himself had the 
battleship San Cristobal built at his own cost for the 
King's service in the war against England. You see, 
they were all the individual as well as the nation hos- 
tile to England; and the intention of evil towards that 
country, what British law calls ' malice prepense ' or 
the ' mens rea ' was manifest in all ! " The Spaniard 
watched me intently ; I could see by the darkening of his 
swarthy face and the agonised contraction of his brows 
that the argument was striking home to his very heart. 
The man was so distressed that, enemy as I felt him to 
be, it was with a pang that I went on: 

" It remains to be seen what view the British law 
would take of your action, or what is the same, that of 

Treasure Trove 341 

your predecessor in the trust, in hiding the treasure in 
the domains of Britain. As a foreigner you would not 
have, I take it, a right in any case. And certainly, as a 
foreigner in arms against this country, you would have 
could have no right in either domestic or interna- 
tional law. The right was forfeit on landing from your 
warship in time of war on British shores ! " 

There was a long pause. Now that I came to piece 
out into an argument the scattered fragments of such 
legal matters as I had been able to learn, and my own 
ideas on the subject, the resulting argument was stronger 
than I had at first imagined. A whole host of collateral 
matters also cropped up. As I was expounding the law, 
as I saw it, the subject took me away with it: 

" This question would then naturally arise : if the for- 
feiture of the rights of the original owner would confer 
a right upon the Crown of Britain, standing as it does 
in such a matter as the ' remainder man.' Also whether 
the forfeited treasure having been hidden, being what 
the law calls ' bona vacantia,' can be acquired by the 
finder, subject to the law relating to the Royal preroga- 
tive. In both the above cases there would arise points 
of law. In either, for instance, the nature of the treas- 
ure might limit the Crown claim as over against an in- 
dividual claiming rights as finder." 

"How so?" asked Don Bernardino. He was recov- 
ering his sang froid, and manifestly was wishful to re- 
assert himself. 

"According to the statement of Don Bernardino, 
which would assuredly be adduced in evidence on either 
side, the treasure was, or is, of various classes; coined 
money, bullion, gems and jewel work. By one of the 
extracts which I have read you, the Crown prerogative 
only applies to precious metals or bullion. Gems or 

342 The Mystery of the Sea 

jewellery are therefore necessarily excluded; for it could 
not, I think, be claimed that such baubles were contra- 
band of war." 

" Again, the place of hiding may make a bar to Crown 
claim as treasure trove. According to the cipher narra- 
tive the place of hiding was a sea cave. This could not 
be either ' on ' the ground, which would give title to 
the finder ; or ' in ' the ground which would give Crown 
claim. But beyond this again, there might arise the 
question as to whether the treasure should in any way 
come into the purview of the law at all. You will re- 
member, in one of my excerpts Blackstone excepts the 
sea from the conditions of treasure trove. It might have 
to be fought out in the Law Courts, right up to the House 
of Lords which is our final Court of Appeal, whether 
the definition of ' sea ' would include a cave into which 
the tide ran." Here I stopped; my argument was ex- 
hausted of present possibilities. The Spaniard's thought 
now found a voice: 

" But still ownership might be proved. Our nations 
have been at peace ever since that unhappy time of the 
Invincible Armada. Nay more, have not the nations 
fought side by side in the Peninsula! Besides, at no 
time has there been war between England and the Pope, 
even when his priests were proscribed and hunted, and 
imprisoned when captured. The friendship of these 
countries would surely give a base for the favourable 
consideration of an international claim. Even if there 
may have been a constructive forfeiture, such was never 
actually exacted; England might, in her wisdom, yield 
the point to a friendly nation, when three hundred years 
had elapsed." Here another idea struck me. 

" Of course " I said " such might be so. England is 
rich and need not enforce her right to a treasure, how- 
ever acquired. But let me remind you that lawyers are 

Treasure Trove 343 

very tenacious of points of law, and this would have to 
be decided by lawyers who are the servants of the state 
and the advisers of the governments. Such would, no 
doubt, be guided by existing principles of law, even if 
the specific case were not on all fours with precedents. I 
learn that in India, which is governed by laws made 
by Britons and consonant with the scheme of British law, 
there is actually an act in existence which governs Treas- 
ure Trove. By this, the magisterial decision can be 
held over to allow the making of a claim of previous 
ownership within a hundred years. So you see that by 
analogy your claim of three hundred years of peace 
would put you clean out of court." We both remained 
silent. Then the Spaniard, with a long sigh, rose up and 
said courteously: 

" I thank you Senor, for the audience which you have 
given to me. As there is to be no rapprochement to us, 
what I can say may not avail. I must now take my own 
course. I am sad ; for what that course may have to be, 
I know not. I would have given my fortune and my life 
to have acquitted me honourably of the trust imposed 
on me. But such happiness may not alas ! be mine. 
Senor " this he said very sternly " I trust that you will 
always remember that I tried all ways that I know of, 
of peace and honour, to fulfill my duty. Should I have 
to take means other to discharge my duty, even to the 
point of life and death, you will understand that I have 
no alternative." 

" Would you take life ? " I said impulsively, half in- 

" I would not scruple regarding my own life ; why 
should I, regarding that of another ? " he said simply, 
then he went on : 

" But oh ! Senor, it is not the taking of life, my own 
or another's, which I dread. It is that I may have to 

344 The Mystery of the Sea 

walk in devious ways, where honour is not; have I not 
already tasted of its bitterness! Understand me that 
this duty of guardianship of the trust is not of my choos- 
ing. It was set to me and mine by other and greater 
powers than ourselves, by the Vicegerent of God Him- 
self; and what is ordained by him I shall do in all ways 
that are demanded of me." 

I was sorry for him, very sorry; but his words made 
a new fear. Hitherto I had been dealing with a gentle- 
man, and there is much protection in this thought to 
any opponent. Now, however, he calmly announced 
that he would act without scruple. I was in future to 
dread, not fair fighting alone, but crooked ways and 
base acts. So I spoke out: 

" Am 1 not then to look on you as a man of honour ? " 
His face darkened dangerously; but all its haughty 
pride was obliterated by a look of despair and grief as 
he said sadly: 

" Alas I know not. I am in the hands of God ! He 
may deal mercifully with me, and allow me to pass to 
my grave not dishonoured; but for myself my path has 
been set in ways that may lead I know not whither." 

Somehow his words made me feel like a cad. I 
didn't mind fighting a man fair; or indeed fighting him 
anyway, so long as we understood the matter from the 
first. But this was against the grain. The man had 
shown himself willing to give up everything he had, so 
as to fulfill his trust and be free ; and for me now to have 
a part in forcing him into ways of dishonour seemed too 
bad. It didn't seem altogether fair to me either. I had 
always tried to act honourably and mercifully, so that 
to have my own hand forced to acquiesce in the down- 
fall of another man was in its way hard lines on me 
too. Truly, the ways of wealth are full of thorns ; and 
when war and politics and intrigue are joined in the 

Treasure Trove 345 

chase for gold, there is much suffering for all who are 
so unhappy as to be drawn within the spell. I was 
weakening in my resolve regarding the treasure, and 
would, I am sure, in a moment of impulse have made 
some rash proffer to the Spaniard ; when once more there 
came back to me the purpose of the treasure, and what 
Marjory might think if I allowed it to go back where 
it might be used against her country. Whatever I might 
do, there was no hope of compromise on the part of Don 
Bernardino. His one purpose, blind and set, was to 
fulfill the obligation set by his forefather and to restore 
the treasure to Spain, by whom it might or might not 
be restored to the Pope. The intensity of my thought 
had concentrated my interests to such an extent that I 
did not consciously notice what was going on around 
me. Only in a sort of dim way did I know that the 
Spaniard's eyes were roving round the room; seeking, 
in the blind agony of the despair which was upon his 
soul for a clue or opening somewhere. 

All at once I became broad awake to the situation of 
things which had happened in those few seconds. He 
was gazing with eyes of amazement on the heap of metal 
caskets, dimmed with three centuries of sea water, which 
were piled on the side table amongst the scattered heaps 
of odds and ends of various kinds, made manifest by some 
trick of light. Then there came a light into his eyes 
as he raised his hand and pointed saying: 

"So the treasure has been found!" 


I THINK that at first sheer amazement had controlled 
the Spaniard's thoughts. But whatever the cause 
of the control was, it soon passed away; then the 
whole fiery nature of the man seemed to sweep from 
him like a torrent: 

" And so all the learned arguments with which you 
have overwhelmed me, were but a cloak to cover your 
possession of the treasure which it was given to me and 
mine to guard. I might have guessed, that without the 
certainty of possession you would not have been so obdur- 
ate to my offer, given in all sincerity as it was. From 
other things, too, I might have known ! That woman, so 
old, who watches you with eyes that see more than is to 
see, and who have reason of her own to mistrust you, she 
telled to me that nightly she has heard you dig in the 
rock as though you make grave. Take care it is not 
so ! I am guardian of that treasure ; and I am desperate ! 
Already have I told you that all things are to me, all 
ways to fulfill the trust of my fathers. We are here 
alone! I am armed; and already my life is forfeit to 
this course. Yield yourself, then, to me ! " 

Like a flash of light he had drawn a dagger from his 
breast; and with an upward sweep of his hand held it 
poised, either to strike or throw. But already I had taken 
warning from his eyes. Ever since danger had threat- 
ened Marjory, I had carried my revolver with me; even 


A Struggle 347 

at night it rested under my pillow. The practice which 
Marjory and I had often had, till she had taught me the 
old trick which her father had taught her of getting " the 
drop " on an adversary, stood me now in good stead. 
Whilst he had been drawing his dagger, I had already 
covered him; he finished the words of his command 
straight into the muzzle of my six-shooter. I said as 
quietly as I could, for it was with a mighty effort I kept 
approximately calm under stress of such a sudden 
attack : 

" Drop that dagger ! Quick ; or I shall shoot it from 
your hands ! " He recognised his helplessness in the 
matter. With a despairing sigh he opened his fingers ; 
the dagger fell jingling to the floor. I went on: 

" Now hold up your hands, well above your head ! 
Move back to the wall ! " He did so, and stood facing 
me with a disdainful smile. I stooped, and with my right 
hand picked up the dagger, still keeping him covered 
with my left. I put the weapon on the far side of the 
table, and approached him. He did not move, but I could 
see that he was sizing me up. This gave me no anxiety, 
for I knew my own strength; and I had also a shrewd 
idea that if he had any other arm about him he would not 
be calculating his chances for a physical struggle. Cau- 
tioning him that his life depended on his stillness, for I 
still held my revolver to his breast, I passed my hand 
lightly over him ; he had manifestly no other weapon. 
The only sign of one was the sheath of his dagger ; this 
I took from him. I placed the dagger in it and put it in 
my own pocket; then I drew a chair to the middle of 
the room and motioned him to sit down. He obeyed 
sullenly. Having by this time regained something of 
my serenity of mind, I spoke: 

" Your pardon, Sir, for the indignity to which I have 
been obliged to submit you; but I am sure you will re- 

348 The Mystery of the Sea 

member that it was not I who began the question of 
force. When you thought it right to draw arms upon 
me in my own house, you made it necessary that I should 
protect myself. Now, let me say something in answer 
to your charge against me. The finding of the treasure 
has nothing whatever to do with my theory of action; 
I should hold my present view just as strongly had we 
not made the discovery. Indeed, I may say that since 
we have had actual possession of the treasure, it 
seems not nearly so desirable as it had been. So far as I 
am concerned, I don't care a straw whether I have ulti- 
mate possession of it or not; but I am so fixed up that 
if I waive my rights that is if I have any to waive 
that I may aid in doing a repugnant thing to a very 
dear friend. That I shall not do. I shall oppose its 
doing by any means in my power ! " The Spaniard saw 
a chance, and spoke: 

" But if I undertake " I cut him short : 

" Sir, in this matter you are not in a position to under- 
take. By your own showing, you are simply bound to 
fulfill your trust and to restore the treasure to the King, 
who will restore it to the Pope; or to restore it to the 
Pope direct." He answered quickly: 

" But I can stipulate " again I interrupted him for 

this was a useless road to travel ; 

" How can you stipulate ? You would, or might, be 
told to simply fulfill the duty that had been undertaken 
for you. Did you refuse, from whatever motive, no 
matter how justly founded, on ground of right or honour, 
you would not be holding to the simple terms of your 
trust. No! sir. This is no private affair to be settled 
by you or me, or by us both together. It belongs to poli- 
tics! and international politics at that. The Government 
of Spain is desperately in want of money. How do you 
know to what shift, or to what specious argument it will 

A Struggle 349 

condescend in its straits. I have no doubt that, should 
anything be done contrary to your idea of fair play, you 
would be grievously pained; but that is not to 
the point. Your Government would not take thought 
for any wish of yours, any more than for aught of mine. 
Your King is a minor; his regent is a woman, and his 
councillors and governors are all men chosen to do 
what they can to save their country. Sir, but a few min- 
utes ago you professed it your duty to take any step, even 
to crime and dishonour, to carry out your duty. Indeed, 
you drew a weapon upon me, a presumably unarmed 
man, in my own house in which you are a self-invited 
guest. Suppose some of the Government of Spain hold 
ideas of their duty, equally strong and equally unscrupu- 
lous ; who then is to answer for what they do. Why, in 
such case, they would undertake anything, until they had 
got possession of the treasure; and would then act en- 
tirely upon what they would call their 'better judg- 
ment.' "' His native pride awoke in an instant for he 
said hotly: 

" I would have you know, Senor, and remember al- 
ways when you talk with a Spaniard, that our statesmen 
are not criminals, but men of honour." I bowed in- 
stinctively as I answered him: 

" Sir, I have no doubt whatever, and I speak in all 
sincerity, that you yourself are, under normal circum- 
stances, a man of the highest honour. Your self-sacrific- 
ing offer has shewn me that; and I have added to that 
knowledge by seeing the pain you have suffered at even 
the thought of dishonour." Here he bowed low, and 
there was a look of gratitude in his eyes which touched 
me to the quick. " And yet even you have openly told 
me that all your belief in honour, all your life-long ad- 
herence to its behests, will not keep you from fulfilling a 
duty should these things clash. Nay more, you have al- 

35 The Mystery of the Sea 

ready done things which I take i't are at variance with 
your principles. How then can you, or I, believe that 
other men, of less lofty lineage and less delicate sense 
of honour, will forego an advantage for their country 
in distress, yielding to a theoretical point of right or 
wrong. No sir " I went on pitilessly, for I felt that 
it would be a kindness to him to shut absolutely this 
door of hope, " We must take no step which will place 
in the hands of others the guardianship of that treasure, 
of which you have hitherto conceived yourself trustee, 
and of which I now believe myself to be the owner." 
For fully several minutes we faced each other in silence. 
His face grew more and more fixed and stern; at last 
he stood up with such a look of resolution that instinc- 
tively my fingers tightened round the butt of my revolver. 
I thought that he might be about to throw himself upon 
me, and attempt even at such odds as were against him, 
a struggle for present mastery. Then, without moving 
from his place, he spoke : 

" When I have done all I can to fulfill my trust in its 
completeness, and have failed, I shall ask the govern- 
ment of my country to make representation to her friend 
England of a friendly claim, so that we may get even a 
part of the treasure; and then I will devote myself to 
the avenging of my honour on those who have foiled me 
in my duty ! " This was a sort of speech which braced 
me up again. It was a promise of war, man to man, and 
I could understand it better than the subleties which now 
enmeshed us. I put my pistol back in my pocket, and 
bowed to my opponent as I answered: 

" And when that time comes, Sir, you will find me 
at your service; how you will; where you will; and 
when you will. In the meantime, when first you place 
the matter on the international plane, I shall take care 
that the American government, in which dear friends 

A Struggle 351 

of mine are interested, shall make friendly demand of 
her friend, England, that she shall take no step with 
regard to this particular treasure if indeed it be then 
in her possession which may be used to the detriment 
of the trans-Atlantic power. Thus you see, sir, that 
time must in any case elapse before a final settlement. 
Nothing can be done till the close of the present war, 
when I take it that immediate need of the sinews of 
war shall have ceased to exist. Be very careful, then, 
how you take any steps to bring upon the scene other 
powers than ourselves; powers vastly more strong, and 
vastly less scrupulous perhaps." He answered noth- 
ing, but looked at me a long time in silent cold dis- 
dain. Then he said quietly: 

"Have I your permission, Senor, to depart?" 1 I 
bowed, and brought him to the door. When outside He 
turned, and, lifting his hat high in an old-fashioned, 
stately way, bowed. He passed up the laneway towards 
Whinnyfold, without once glancing back. 

As I stood looking at him, I saw in the dusk Gor- 
mala's head now and again showing above the low green 
bank which guarded the edge of the cliff. She was 
bent double, and was in secret following the Spaniard. 

I went back to the house to think over matters. Alto- 
gether, we were getting so complicated that there did not 
seem any straight road to take. In the back of my mind 
1 had a firm idea that the best thing I could do would 
be to hand over the treasure to the custody of the police ; 
inform the Sheriff; and get my solicitor to enter a 
formal claim of ownership, wherever the claim should 
be made. Then I should get Marjory to come upon our 
honeymoon. I could see that her mind was almost, 
if not quite, made up to accept this step ; and for a while 
I lost myself in a day dream. 

I came back to the reality of things by dimly and 

352 The Mystery of the Sea 

gradually realising that it had grown dark. So I made 
preparation for the night, bearing in mind that I had a 
vast treasure in my possession, and that a desperate 
man who claimed to represent its ownership was aware 
that I had it in the house. It was not till I had seen 
to the fastenings of every window and door, that I began 
to prepare a meal. 

By this time I was exceedingly hungry; when 1 had 
eaten I seated myself before a rousing fire of pine logs, 
lit my pipe, and began to think. Without, the wind was 
rising. I could hear it whistle along the roof, and now 
and again it roared and boomed down the chimney; the 
leaping fire seemed to answer its call. I could not think 
definitely; my thoughts kept whirling in a circle from 
the Spaniard to the treasure, from the treasure to Gor- 
mala, from Gormala to Marjory, and from Marjory 
back to the Spaniard again. Every time the cycle became 
complete and my thoughts came back to Marjory, my 
rapture as I thought of her and of our future, became 
clouded by a vague uneasiness. It was out of this that 
the thought of Don Bernardino came to commence the 
next round of thought. In all my mental wanderings he 
became a dominant character; his pride, his sense of 
duty which subordinated even honour, his desperation, 
his grief, all seemed to be with me and around me. Now 
and again I trembled, when I thought that such self- 
sacrificing forces might be turned against Marjory. 

Little by little, despite all my anxiety, stole over me 
the disposition of sleep. I was indeed almost worn out. 
The events of the past few days had crowded to- 
gether so quickly that I had had no time for pause. Even 
the long sleep which had crowned the vigil in the water 
cave had not enabled me to lay in, so to speak, a pro- 
vision of sleep ; it had been the payment of a debt to na- 
ture rather than the putting by of capital. I had the 

A Struggle 353 

consoling thought that Marjory had promised me she 
would not leave Crom Castle till I came. Safe in this 
thought I rolled myself in rugs choosing those that she 
had used and fell asleep. 

I think that even in sleep I did not lose the sense of 
my surroundings, for in dreams my thoughts ran in their 
waking channel. Here again, all the disturbing elements 
of my life of late became jumbled together; and a sort 
of anxiety regarding something unknown seemed to 
brood over me. So far as I remember, I slept fitfully; 
waking often in a sort of agony of indefinite apprehen- 
sion. A couple of times I made up the fire which was 
falling low, for there was a sort of companionship in it. 
Without, the wind howled more loudly, and each time 
as I sank back to rest I pulled the rugs more closely 
around me. 

Once, I started broad awake. I thought I heard a 
cry, and naturally, in my present frame of mind, my 
thoughts flew to Marjory in some danger; she was call- 
ing me. Whatever the cause was, it reached my brain 
through a thick veil of sleep; my body answered, and 
before I had time to think of why or wherefore, I was 
standing on the floor broad awake, alert and panting. 
Again there came a sharp cry outside, which threw me in 
an instant into a cold sweat. Marjory was in danger 
and was calling me ! Instinctively I ran to the window, 
and pulling open the shutters, threw up the sash. All 
was dark outside, with just that cold line on the far 
Eastern horizon which told of coming dawn. The wind 
had risen high, and swept past me into the room, rustling 
papers and making the flames dance. Every now and 
again a bird swept by me on the wings of the wind, 
screaming as it flew ; for the house was so close to the 
sea that the birds took no note of it as they would ordi- 
narily do of a human habitation. One of them came so 


354 The Mystery of the Sea 

close that its scream seemed to sound loudly in my ears ; 
it was doubtless just such a cry as this which had torn 
me from my sleep. For a while I hesitated whether I 
should go right away to Crom ; but second thoughts pre- 
vailed. I could not get into the house at such an hour, 
without creating alarm and causing comment. So I went 
back to the chimney corner, and, piling on fresh logs and 
snuggling into my nest of rugs, soon found sleep again 
descending on me. The serenity of thought which comes 
with the day was using its force. . 

This time I woke more slowly. The knocking was con- 
tinuous and imperative ; but it was not a terrifying sound. 
We are all more or less used to such sounds. I listened ; 
and gradually consciousness of my surroundings came 
back to me. The knocking was certainly persistent. 
I put on my shoes and went to the door. 

Outside was Mrs. Jack, looking troubled and hot in 
spite of the cold of the wind which seemed to sing 
around the house. As I opened the door, she slipped 
past me and closed it behind her. Her first words made 
my heart sink, and my blood run cold with vague terror : 

" Is Marjory here?" 


MRS. JACK saw the answer in my eyes before 
speech came, and staggered back against the 

"No," I said "Why do you ask?" 

" She is not here ! Then there is something wrong ; 
she was not in her room this morning ! " 

This morning! The words set my thoughts working. 
I looked at my watch ; it was past ten o'clock. In a dazed 
kind of way I heard Mrs. Jack go on. 

" I did not say a word to any of the servants at first, 
for I didn't want to set them talking. I went all over the 
house myself. Her bed had not been slept in; I pulled 
the clothes off it and threw them on again roughly so 
that the maid might not suspect. Then I asked quietly if 
any of the maids had seen her ; but none had. So I said 
as quietly as I could that she must have gone out for an 
early walk; and I took my breakfast. Then I had the 
cart got ready, and drove over here myself. What can it 
be? She told me last night that she was not going out 
until you came ; and she is always so exact when she says a 
thing, that there must be something wrong. Come back 
with me at once ! I am so anxious that I don't know what 
to do." 

Two minutes sufficed for my toilet; then shutting the 
door behind us, we got into the cart and drove to Crom. 
At the first and at the last we went quietly, so as not 
to arouse attention by our speed ; but in the middle space 


356 The Mystery of the Sea 

we flew. During the journey Mrs. Jack had told me that 
last night she had gone to bed as usual, leaving in the 
drawing room Marjory, who had told her that she was 
going presently into the library to write as she had a lot 
of letters to get through, and that no one was to wait 
up for her. This was her usual habit when she sat late ; 
it therefore excited no extra attention. Mrs. Jack who 
was an early riser, had been dressed for an hour before 
she went to Marjory's room. In the course of her 
enquiries amongst the servants, one of them, whose busi- 
ness it was to open the hall door, told her that she had 
found it locked and chained as usual. 

Within the house at Crom we found all quiet. I went 
at once into the library, as that was presumably the list 
place where Marjory had been. As we went, I asked 
Mrs. Jack if any letters had been left out to post. She 
said no ! that the usual habit was to put such in the box 
on the hall table, but she had herself, looked, when she 
came down to put in a letter for America. I went over 
at once to the table near the fire where Marjory usually 
sat at night. There were plenty of writing materials 
and blank paper and envelopes ; but not a sign of a letter 
or anything written. 1 looked all round the room but 
could see nothing to attract my attention. Once more 
I asked Mrs. Jack what Marjory had said to her about 
her intention of not leaving the castle till I had come. 
With some hesitation at first, as though she were fear- 
ful of breaking confidence, but afterwards more freely 
as if glad to be able to speak, she told me all : 

" The dear child took to heart what I said yesterday 
about her living with her husband. After you had gone 
she came to me and laid her head on my breast, as she 
used to do as a little child, and began to cry ; and told me 
that I had been very good to her. The darling! And 
that her mind was made up. She realised now her duty 

The Honour of a Spaniard 357 

to her husband; and that as he wished her to stay in 
the house, nothing in the world would induce her to 
leave it till he came. That was the first act of her new 
duty ! And, oh my dear ! that is why I was so concerned 
when I found that after all she was not in the house. I 
don't understand it ; there must be something on foot that 
I don't know ; and I am full of fear ! " Here the old lady 
quite broke down. I felt that any self control now was 
precious. It would not do to leave Mrs. Jack in ignor- 
ance of the danger, so I told her in as few words as I 
could of the blackmailing going on and of the watch set 
by the United States Secret Service. At first she was 
overwhelmed; but her early apprenticeship to dangers 
of all kinds stood her in good stead. Very soon her 
agitation took practical shape. I told her I was off to 
seek for help, and that she must keep the house till I 
returned. I would have tried the secret tunnel, but 
from what Mrs. Jack had said I was convinced that 
Marjory had never left the house of her own accord. 
If she had been captured she was doubtless far away 
by this time. It was possible that the blackmailers had 
found the secret passage into the Castle by which Don 
Bernardino had come. Here the thought came to me 
in full force; that was how they had discovered it. 
They had seen and watched the Don! ... I felt 
that another debt for our day of reckoning had been 
piled up against him. 

I got in the cart again and went to Cruden as hard as 
the mare could go. As I went, I formed my plans, 
and had my telegrams made up in my mind ready to 
write them out at once. For a while I doubted whether 
I should go to another telegraph office, lest the Cruden 
people might come to know too much. But there was no 
need of concealment now. I was not afraid of any one 
knowing, though I determined to be discreet and secret 

358 The Mystery of the Sea 

if possible. The circuit was occupied, so I found the 
use of the priority telegraph forms Adams had sent 
me. There was not a moment lost; one was being de- 
spatched whilst I was writing the next. To Adams I 

" They have succeeded : Wire men see me at Crom 
right away. Come if you can. Want all help can get. 
Time vital. . . ." 

To Cathcart I wired at his house in Invernesshire : 

" Come to me without moment's delay. Vital. Want 
every kind of help." I knew he would understand, and 
would come armed. 

As it would be some little time before anything could 
be done, I determined to find Don Bernardino if possible ; 
and induce him to show me the secret exit. Without 
knowledge of this we would be powerless; with it we 
might find some clue. I did not make up my mind as to 
what I would do if he refused; but to myself the in- 
stinctive grinding of my teeth, and clenching of my 
fingers, seemed to answer my question. Of one thing 
I was glad, he was a gentleman. In such a matter as 
that in which I was engaged, there were possibilities, if 
even there were not definite hope. 

I drove to Ellon; and from the agent there got his 
address. I soon found it; an old-fashioned house near 
the town, in a tiny park surrounded with great trees. 
I left the cart on the road, with the mare tethered to 
the gate post, there being no lodgekeeper or no lodge. 
Before I rang the hall-door bell I saw that my revolver 
was ready to my hand. The instant the door was opened 
I stepped in, and said to the old woman who opened it: 

" Mr. Barnard is in the study I suppose ? I have press- 
ing business with him ! " She was so taken aback by 
the suddenness of my entry and speech that she pointed 
to a door saying : " He is in there." 

The Honour of a Spaniard 359 

As 1 entered the room, closing the door behind me, 
the Don, who had been seated in a large chair with his 
back to the door turned unconcernedly. He had evi- 
dently not expected any disturbing visitor. The instant 
he saw me, however, he leaped to his feet, all his hos- 
tility awake. As he scanned my face his concern grew; 
and he glanced around, as though seeking for some 
weapon. I put my hand on my revolver, and said as 
quietly as I could, remembering his own precision of 
manner ; 

" Forgive my intrusion, Sir ; but I have urgent need 
of speech with you." I suppose there was something in 
my tone which bore home to his brain the idea that I 
had changed in some way since we had met. Do what I 
would, I could not conceal the anxiety of my voice. After 
a pause he said : 

" Regarding the treasure ? " 

" No ! " said I : " Since last night I have not even 
given it a thought." A strange, new look came over his 
face, a look in which hope and concern seemed to have 
equal parts. He paused again; I could see he was 
thinking. Mechanically 1 tapped my foot on the floor 
with impatience; the golden moments were flying by. 
He realised my gravity oj purpose, and, manifestly turn- 
ing his attention to me, said : 

" Speak on Senor ! " By this time I had well in my 
mind what I intended to say. It was not my purpose to 
further antagonise the Spaniard; at the outset at any 
rate. Later on, that might be necessary; but I should 
exhaust other means first. 

" I have come, Sir, to ask your aid, the help of a 
gentleman ; and I feel at a loss how to ask it." Through 
the high-bred courtesy of the Spaniard's manner came 
a note of bitterness, as he answered: 

" Alas ! Senor, I know the feeling. Have not I myself 

360 The Mystery of the Sea 

asked on such a plea ; and stooped in vain ! " I had 
nothing to say in reply to this, so went on : 

" Sir, I am aware that you can make much sacrifice : 
I ask, not for myself, but for a lady in peril ! " He an- 
swered quickly: 

"A lady! in peril! Say on Senor!" There was such 
hope and purpose in his quick tone that my heart in- 
stinctively leaped as I went on: 

" In peril, sir; of life; of honour. To you I appeal to 
lay aside your feelings of hate towards me, however 
just they may be; and come like a true gentleman to 
her aid. I am emboldened to ask this because it was, I 
think, by your act that the peril the immediate peril, 
has come to her." He flushed at once : 

" Through me ! Peril to a lady's honour through 
me ! Have a care, sir ! Have a care ! " With a rush I 
went on: 

" By your going into the castle through a secret pas- 
sage, other enemies of the lady, low, base and unscrupu- 
lous who have been plotting to carry her off for ransom, 
have doubtless made an entry otherwise impossible to 
them. Now we must find a clue, and at once. Tell me, 
I implore you, of the secret way; that thus we may at 
once begin our search." For a few seconds he looked me 
through and through; I think he suspected some plot 
or trap, for he said slowly: 

"And the treasure; can you leave it?" I answered 
hotly : 

" The treasure ! I have not even thought of it since 
the news came of Marjory's disappearance!" Here I 
took it that he was beginning his unscrupulous purpose, 
and was playing my loss against his own ; and a thought 
came to me that had not even crossed my mind before 
had he been the abductor for the purpose of just such a 
bargain? I took from my pocket the key of the house in 

The Honour of a Spaniard 361 

Whinnyfold and held it out to him. " Here Sir " I said 
" is the key of my house. Take it with all it contains, 
and all it leads to! The treasure is as you left it last 
night; only help me in my need." 

He waved my hand aside with an impatient gesture 
as he said simply: 

" I do not bargain with a woman's honour. Such 
comes before all the treasures of Popes or Kings ; before 
the oath and duty of a de Escoban. Come ! Senor, there is 
no time to lose. Let us settle this affair first; later we 
can arrange matters that rest between thee and me ! " 

" Your hand, Sir " was all I could say. " In such 
trouble as mine, there is no help like that of a gentleman. 
But will you not honour me by keeping the key? This 
other is a trust which you have won by honour ; as your 
great ancestor won his glorious duty long ago." He 
did not hesitate; all he said as he took the key was: 

" It is a part of my duty which I must not forego." 

As we left the house he looked like a new man a 
man born again; there was such joyous gladness in his 
face and voice and movements that I wondered. I could 
not help saying when we had got into the cart and were 
on our way: 

" You seem happy, Sir. I would that I could feel the 

" Ah, Senor, I am happy beyond belief. I am happy 
as one raised from Hell to Heaven. For now my honour 
is no more perilled. God has been good to me to show 
a way, even to death, without dishonour." 

As we flew along to Crom I told him what I knew of 
the secret passage between the chapel and the monu- 
ment. He wondered at my having discovered the secret ; 
but when I told him of how the blackmailing gang had 
used the way to evade the Secret Service men, he sud- 
denly cried out: 

362 The Mystery of the Sea 

" There was but one who ever knew the secret of 
that passage ; my kinsman, with whom I stayed in Crom 
when young, told me of him. He tried much to find the 
entrance to the Castle, and finally .under threat he went 
away to America. He was a base-born and a thief. It 
must be he who has come back after these years and has 
told of the secret way. Alas ! they must have watched me 
when I went, all unsuspicious; and so discovered the 
other secret." Then he tried to explain where the en- 
trance was. It was not in the chamber where we had 
expected it would be, but in a narrow corner of the stair, 
the whole corner being one stone and forming the 

When we arrived at Crom we found that the Secret 
Service men were waiting for me, having been instructed 
from London. There were also telegrams from Adams 
and Cathcart saying that they were on the way to join 
me. Adams wired from Aberdeen, and Cathcart from 
Kingussie. Mrs. Jack was with the detectives and had 
taken them through the rooms which Marjory had used. 
They had had up the servants one by one and examined 
them as to what they knew. The chief man had insisted 
on this; he said matters were now too serious to play 
the fool any longer. The servants were not told any- 
thing, even that Marjory was missing; but of course 
they had their suspicions. A peremptory order was given 
that no one should leave the house without permission. 
The chief confided to me that Mrs. Jack had quite 
broken down when she was telling him that Marjory 
knew all along about the blackmailers and had never told 
her. " But she's all right now, Sir," he concluded. 
"That old lady is just full of sand; and I tell you her 
head is level. She's been thinking of everything which 
could possibly be of use to us. I guess I have heard 

The Honour of a Spaniard 363 

more of this racket within the last half hour than I have 
done in the last two weeks." 

By the instructions of Don Bernardino we went into 
the library. I asked Mrs. Jack to send for lamps and 
candles, and these were brought shortly. In the mean- 
time 1 asked that one of the detectives should be sent into 
the old chapel and another to the monument on the 
hill. Both were warned to have their guns ready, and 
to allow no one to pass at any hazard. To each before 
going I explained the secret mode of entry. 

The Don went over to one of the book-cases the 
very section containing the shelf in which I had re- 
placed the old law book. Taking out that particular vol- 
ume, he put his hand in and pressed a spring. There 
was a faint click. He replaced the book and pressed 
against the bookcase with slow level pressure. Very 
slowly it seemed to give way before him; and then turn- 
ing on a hinge at one side, left an open cavity through 
which a man could easily pass. I was about to rush in, 
and was quite ready, with a lamp in one hand and a 
revolver in the other, when the chief of the detectives laid 
a restraining hand on my arm as he said : 

" Wait a moment. If you go too fast you may obliter- 
ate some sign which would give us a clue ! " The wisdom 
of his speech was not to be gainsaid. Instinctively I 
fell back ; two of the trained observers drew close to the 
doorway, and holding their lamp in such wise as to throw 
light all round the opening, began an exact scrutiny. 
One of them knelt down and examined the flooring; 
the other confined his attention to roof and walls. After 
a silence, lasting perhaps a minute, the man kneeling 
stood up and said: 

" Not a doubt about it ! There has been a violent 
struggle here at the doorway ! " 


ONE of the men produced his note book and began 
taking down in shorthand the rapid utterances 
of the chief, repeating it so as to check the ac- 
curacy as he went on: 

" Easy to see the marks ; the floor is deep in dust, and 
the walls are thick with it. On floor, mark of several feet 
confused in struggle, may articulate separately later on 
one woman's also trailing of long skirt. On walls 
marks of hands, fingers outspread, as if trying to grasp. 
Some of the long marks down the wall others across." 
The speaker here raised his lamp and held it in the 
opening as far as his arm would go ; then he went on : 

" Steps wind downwards to right. Struggle seems to 
have stopped. Footmarks more clear." , . . Then 
the chief turned to us : 

" I think gentlemen, we may follow in now. The foot- 
marks may be discriminated and identified later. We 
must chance destroying them, or we cannot pass in 
this narrow passage." Here I spoke; a thought had 
been surging up in my brain ever since the detective had 
pointed out the finger marks on the wall " down and 
across " : 

" Stop a moment please ! Let me see the marks on the 
wall before any one enters; the passage is narrow and 
they may be rubbed off." A glance was enough, just 
time enough to formulate which was the symbol of 


The Voice in the Dust 365 

" a " and which of " b." The perpendicular, strokes were 
"a" and the horizontal " b." Marjory had kept her 
head, even at this trying time, and was leaving a message 
for me as she was forced along. I understood why the 
struggle had ceased. Seized and forced through the 
narrow doorway, she had at first struggled hard. Then, 
when she realised that she could leave a clue behind her, 
she had evidently agreed to go quietly; for so she might 
have her hands free. It would be a hard job to carry or 
force along an unwilling captive through that narrow 
uneven passage ; doubtless the captors were as willing as 
she was that she should go quietly. I said to the 
detectives : 

" These marks on the wall are in a cipher which I can 
read. Give me the best lamp we have, and let me go 

So, in an orderly procession, leaving two men in the 
library with Mrs. Jack to guard the entrance, we passed 
into the secret passage. As I read off the words written 
on the wall, the man with the note-book took them down, 
his companion holding a candle so as to enable him to do 
so. How my heart beat as I read my dear girl's mes- 
sage, marked on the wall on the inner side whichever 
way the curves ran. Obviously it would create less at- 
tention by guiding herself in this wise as she passed. She 
had kept her hand well down so that her signs should not 
be confused with the marks made by the men who, guid- 
ing themselves likewise, had held their hands at a nat- 
ural height. Her sign marks ran continuously, even after 
we had passed into the passage between the chapel and 
the monument; the writing ran as follows: 

" Four men came in two waiting in passage through 
bookcase late striking one struggled then quiet 
hands free same voice we heard in Chapel. Feathers 
thin voice, small man, dark all masked Whisky Tommy 

366 The Mystery of the Sea 

hoarse voice, big man, sandy, large hands Dago, deep 
voice, swarthy, little finger missing left hand Max, si- 
lent, nods for speech, think dumb two others on ahead 
too far see, hear." 

In a pause I heard the chief detective murmur: 

" That girl's a peach. We'll get her yet ! " The spot 
at which we were pausing was where the way to the 
reservoir branched off. Here Marjory probably stood 
with her back to the wall and used her hands behind her 
back, for the strokes were smaller and more uneven. 
There were faults which put me out and I could only read 
a few words " whispering " " only word can hear 
' manse.' " There was evidently some conversation going 
on between her captors, and she was making use of her 
opportunities. Then we went on and found the signs 
renewed. It cut me to the heart when I saw a smear of 
blood on one of the marks; the rough uncertain move- 
ment and the sharp edges of the rock had told on her 
delicate skin. But later on, the blood marks were con- 
tinued, and I could not but think that she had cut her 
fingers on purpose to make a more apparent clue. When 
I mentioned my surmise to the detective, his instinct 
having been trained in such matters, showed a keener 
insight than my own : 

" More likely she is preparing to leave a mark which 
we can see when they get her out of the tunnel. They 
may not suspect intention if her fingers are bleeding 
already ! " The words following the stop where I had 
read " manse " were : 

"Boat ready Seagull Coffin Hearse bury isl " 
Here the next mark instead of being horizontal took a 
sudden angle down, and the blood was roughly rubbed 
off. It was as though her hand had been struck in the 
act of making the mark. Her captors had suspected 
her. There were no more marks on the wall. I could 

The Voice in the Dust 367 

not imagine, however, that Marjory would be en- 
tirely baffled. She had infinite resource, and would 
doubtless find some other means of leaving a clue. 
Telling the others therefore to keep back I threw the 
rays of the lamp over roof and walls and floor as we 

It was a strange scene. The candles and lamp 
showing up but patches of light in the inky black dark- 
ness; the moving figures projected against the lights 
as I looked back; the silence broken by the shuffling 
tread of stumbling feet on the rock floor; the eager 
intense faces, when a change in the light flashed them 
into view. It all moved me at moments, for there was 
a gleam of hope in its earnestness. 

I tried to put myself in Marjory's position. If her 
hands were useless, as they would be if she could not 
use them without suspicion even were they not tied 
now as was probable her next effort would be with 
her feet; I therefore looked out carefully for any sign 
made this way. Presently I came across a mark which 
I suspected. It was only a few steps beyond the last 
mark on the wall. It was a sort of drag of the foot, 
where there was any slight accumulation of dust, or rub- 
bish, or sand. There were more such traces ahead. So 
motioning to the others to keep back, I followed them up, 
taking care not to disturb any of them. They were but 
the rough marks made during a stumbling progress ; and 
for a time I was baffled ; though I could distinguish the 
traces of Marjory's little feet amongst the great ones. 
Then I went back and looked at them afresh from the 
beginning, and a light burst upon me. They were made 
with the right or left foot as required; thus she could 
reproduce the bi-literal symbol. Interpretation was now 
easy enough, and hence on, to the exit from the tunnel, 
I could tell almost every word written. There being only 

368 The Mystery of the Sea 

a few cases where the sign was not sufficiently marked for 
me to read it. 

" Suspicious. Hands tied gagged find Seagull 
find Manse." 

It was sadly slow work, and my heart at times sank 
within me at the exasperating delay in our progress. 
However, it was progress after all; and that sustained 
us. All along, as we worked our way towards the monu- 
ment, I had been thinking of the word " manse ; " and 
now its repetition showed its importance. It would be 
necessary that the abductors have some place in which 
to conceal their captive, before they should be able to 
get her out of the country. That this latter would be 
a necessary step towards their object was manifest; but 
the word Seagull settled it. 

When we got to the entrance of the tunnel we ex- 
amined every inch of the way; this was the wish of the 
detective rather than my own. Marjory would, it seemed 
to me, go quietly through the entrance. She would 
know that she was being watched here with extra care- 
fulness; and would reserve herself for a less suspicious 
opportunity. She would also know that if I were on her 
track at all, I would be able to follow through the secret 

Outside, on the ground beside the monument, were 
no unusual signs of passage. The patch of bare earth 
and gravel, which we had before noticed, left no trace 
of footsteps. Those who had used it had evidently 
taken care that there should be no sign. We went slowly 
along the route, which, by my former experiments with 
the thread, I had found was habitually used. Presently 
one of the Americans asked me to stop, as he had seen a 
trace of feet. For my life I could distinguish nothing 
in the seemingly undisturbed mass of pine needles. But 
the man, who in his youth had been in Indian country, 

The Voice in the Dust 369 

had learned something of tracking; he could interpret 
signs unseen to others with less highly developed in- 
stincts. He went down on his knees and examined 
the ground, inch by inch, using a microscope. For some 
ten yards he crawled along on hands and knees engaged 
in this way. Then he stood up and said: 

" There's no error about it now. There are six men 
and a woman. They have been carrying her, and have 
let her down here ! " We did not challenge his report, 
or even ask how he had arrived at it; we were all well 
content to accept it. 

We then moved on in the manifest direction in which 
the ground trended; we were working towards the high 
road which ran past the gates of Crom. I asked the 
others to let me go first now, for I knew this would be 
Marjory's chance to continue her warning. Surely 
enough, I saw presently a slight disturbance in the pine 
needles, and then another and another. I spelled out 
the word " Manse " and again " Manse " and later on 
" try all Manses near." Then the sign writing ceased ; 
we had come out of the wood on to a grass field which 
ran down to the high road. Here, outside a gap at the 
bottom of the field, were the marks in the dust of several 
feet, the treading of horses, and the ruts of wheels. A 
little further on, the wheel marks some four-wheeled 
vehicle were heavy; and from the backward propulsion 
of the dust and gravel in the hoof-tracks we could easily 
see that the horses were galloping. 

We stopped and held a council of war. It was, of 
course understood by us all that some one should follow 
on the track of the carriage, and try to reach the quarry 
this way. For my own part, I felt that to depend on a 
wheel mark, in such a country of cross roads, was only the 
off chance. In any case, this stern chase must be a long 
one; whereas time was vital, every moment being pre- 

370 The Mystery of the Sea 

cious. I determined to try to follow out Marjory's clue. 
" Try every Manse near." To do this we should get to 
some centre where we could obtain a list of all the churches 
in the neighbourhood. Ellon was naturally the place, as 
it was in the centre of the district. They all acquiesced 
in my view; so we hurried back to Crom, leaving two 
men, the tracker and another, to follow the fugitives. 
Hitherto Don Bernardino had hardly said a word. He 
was alert, and the eager light of his eye was helpful ; but 
after he had shown us the secret way, and found that 
already I knew the outer passage as well as he did, or 
better, he had contented himself with watchfulness. Now 
he suggested: 

" There is also the boat ! May it not be well that 
some one should follow up that side of the matter? Thus 
we shall be doubly armed." 

His advice commended itself to the chief of the de- 
tectives; though I could see that he took it suspiciously 
from the Spaniard. It was with manifest purpose of 
caution that he answered: 

" Quite right ! But that we shall see to ourselves ; 
when Mr. Adams comes he will work that racket ! " The 
Spaniard bowed, and the American returned the courtesy 
with a stiff back. Even in such a time of stress, racial 
matters were not to be altogether forgotten. 

In the hall at Crom, we found, when we came back 
through the old chapel, Sam Adams. He had arrived 
just after we had set out on our search, but was afraid 
to follow over-ground lest he should miss us; wisely 
he did not attempt the underground way as he had no 
proper light. His coming had been a great comfort 
to Mrs. Jack, who, always glad to see a countryman of 
her own, now almost clung to him. He had brought 
with him two young men, the very sight of whom made 
my heart warmer. One of them he introduced as " Loo- 

The Voice in the Dust 371 

tenant Jackson of West Point " and the other as " Loo- 
tenant Montgomery of Annapolis." " These boys are all 
right ! " he added, laying a hand affectionately on the 
shoulder of each. 

" I am sure they are ! Gentlemen, I thank you with all 
my heart for coming ! " I said as I wrung their hands. 
They were both fine specimens of the two war Academies 
of the United States. Clean-built from top to toe; 
bright-eyed, resolute and alert; the very type of highly 
bred and trained gentlemen. The young soldier Jackson 
answered me: 

" I was too delighted to come, when Adams was good 
enough to get leave for me." 

" Me too ! " echoed the sailor " When I heard that Miss 
Drake was in trouble, and I was told I might come, I 
think I danced. Why, Sir, if you want them, we've only 
to pass the word, and we can get you a man of war's 
crew if every man of them has to desert ! " 

Whilst we were speaking there was a sound of rapid 
wheels, and a carriage from Ellon drew up at the door. 
Out jumped Cathcart, followed by a tall, resolute look- 
ing young man who moved with the freedom of an 

" Am I in time ? " was Cathcart's greeting as he rushed 
towards me. I told him exactly how we stood. " Thank 
God ! " he said fervently " we may be in time yet." Then 
he introduced his friend MacRae of Strathspiel. This 
was the host with whom he had been staying; and who 
had volunteered to come, on hearing of his summons : 

" You may trust Donald ! " was his simple evidence of 
the worth of his friend. 

This addition to our forces gave us great hope. We 
had now a sufficiency of intelligent, resolute men to fol- 
low up several clues at once ; and in a brief council we 
marked out the various duties 'of each. Cathcart was to 

372 The Mystery of the Sea 

go to Ellon and get a list of all the manses in the region 
of Buchan, and try to find out if any of them had been 
let to strangers. We took it for granted that none of 
the clergy of the place were themselves concerned in the 
plot. MacRae was to go with Cathcart and to get all 
the saddle horses he could without attracting public at- 
tention, and bring them, or have them brought, to Crom 
as soon as possible. Secrecy of movement was insisted 
on with almost agonised fervour by Adams and the 
Secret Service men. " You don't know these wretches," 
said the chief of the latter " They are the most remorse- 
less and cruel villains in the world; and if they are 
driven to bay will do anything however cruel or base. 
They are well plucked too, and don't know what fear 
means. They will take any chances, and do anything to 
get their way and protect themselves. If we don't go 
right in this matter, we may regret it to the last of our 

The silence in the room was only broken by the grind- 
ing of teeth, and by Mrs. Jack's suppressed sobs. 

Adams was to go to Aberdeen as a working centre, 
and was to look after the nautical side of the adventure ; 
he was to have Montgomery in this work with him. 
Before he left Crom, he wrote some cipher telegrams to 
the Embassy. He explained to me that one of his sug- 
gestions was that an American war-ship which was 
cruising in the North Sea should, if possible, be allowed 
to lie off the coast of Aberdeen ready for any emergency. 
When Montgomery heard it, he asked that if possible a 
message should be sent from him to the first officer of the 
'Keystone: " Tell the men privately that they are help- 
ing Marjory Drake! There will be a thousand pair 
of eyes on the watch then ! " he added by way of ex- 

The Voice in the Dust 373 

I was to wait with the detectives till we should get 
word from any of our sources as to what could be done. 

For there were several possibilities. The trackers 
might mark down the locality where the prisoner was 
hidden. Cathcart might, before this, come with the list 
of manses and their occupants. Adarns or Montgomery 
might get wind of the Seagull; for Montgomery had al- 
ready orders to go to Petershead and Fraserburgh, 
where the smacks for the summer fishing were gathered. 

Don Bernardino remained with me at Crom. 


THE time of waiting was inconceivably long and 
dreary. When Marjory and I had been waiting 
for death in the water-cave, we thought that 
nothing could be so protracted; but now I knew better. 
Then, we had been together, and whatever came, even 
death itself, would be shared by us. But now I was 
alone; and Marjory away, and in danger. In what 
danger I knew not, I could only imagine; and at every 
new thought of fear and horror I ground my teeth afresh 
and longed for action. Fortunately there was something 
to do. The detectives wanted to know all I could tell 
them. At the first, the chief had asked that Mrs. Jack 
would get all the servants of the house together so that 
he might see them. She had so arranged matters that 
they would be together in the servants' hall, and he went 
down to inspect. He did not stay long; but came back 
to me at once with an important look on his face. He 
closed the door and coming close to me said: 

" I knew there was something wrong below stairs ! 
That footman has skipped ! " For a few seconds I did not 
realise what he meant, and asked him to explain. 

" That footman that went out gallavantin' at nights. 
He's in it, sure. Why isn't he in the hall where the 
others are? Just you ask the old lady about him. It'll 
be less suspicious than me doing it." Then it dawned 
on me what he meant. 


Danger 375 

" There is no footman in the house ! " I said. 

"That's so, Mister. That's just what I'm tellin'! 
Where is he?" 

" There is none ; they don't have any male servants in 
the house. The only men are in the stables in the village." 

" Then that makes it worse still. There is a man 
who I've seen myself steal out of the house after dark, 
or in the dusk; and sneak back again out of the wood 
in the grey of the dawn. Why, I've reported it to Mr. 
Adams. Didn't he warn you about it ; he said he would." 

" He did that." 

" And didn't you take his tip? " 

" No ! " here from the annoyed expression of his face 
I took warning. It would never do to chagrin the man 
and set him against me by any suspicion of ridicule. So 
I went on : 

" The fact is, my friend, that this was a disguise. It 
was Mar Miss Drake who used it ! " He was veritably 
surprised ; his amazement was manifest in his words : 

" Miss Drake ! And did she put on the John Thomas 
livery ? In the name of thunder, why ? " 

" To escape you ! " 

" To escape me ! Wall, I'm damned ! That elegant 
young lady to put on livery ; and to escape me ! " 

" Yes ; you and the others. She knew you were watch- 
ing her ! Of course she was grateful for it ! " I added, 
for his face fell " but she couldn't bear it all the same. 
You know what girls are," I went on apologetically, 
" They don't like to be cornered or forced to do any- 
thing. She knew you were all clever fellows at your 
work and didn't take any chances." I was trying to con- 
ciliate him; but I need not have feared. He was of the 
right sort. He broke into a laugh, slapping his thigh 
loudly with his open hand as he said heartily : 

" Well, that girl's a daisy ! she's a peach ; she's " It " ! 

376 The Mystery of the Sea 

To think of her walking out under our noses, and us not 
having an idea that it might be her, just because we 
didn't think she'd condescend to put on the breeches 
and the footman's at that. Well, it's a pity we didn't get 
on to her curves ; for it might have been different ! Never 
mind! We'll take her out of her trouble before long; 
and Mr. Whisky Tommy and his push will have to look 
out for their skins ! " 

This little episode passed some of the time; but the 
reaction to the dreary waiting was worse than ever. As 
I began again an endless chain of surmises and misgiv- 
ings, it occurred to me that Don Bernardino might be 
made of some use. The blackmailers had evidently 
watched him; it might be that they would watch him 
again. If so, he could be the means of a trap being 
laid. I turned the matter over in my mind, but at present 
could see no way to realise the idea. It gave me another 
thought, however. The Don had been very noble in 
his attitude to me; and I might repay some of his good- 
ness. Although he was so quiet and silent, I knew well 
that he must be full of his own anxiety regarding the 
treasure, now exposed as it might be to other eyes than 
his own. I could ask him to go to see after it. With 
some diffidence I broached the matter to him, for I 
did not want in any way to wound him. Since I had 
determined to relinquish the treasure if necessary, I 
was loth to make the doing so seem like an ungracious 
act. At first he almost took offence, reminding me with 
overt haughtiness that he had already assured me that 
all the treasures of Spain or of the Popedom were sec- 
ondary to a woman's honour. I liked him all the better 
for his attitude; and tried to persuade him that it was 
his duty to guard this trust, as otherwise it might fall 
into bad hands. Then a brilliant idea struck me, one 
which at once met the case and made the possibility of a 

Danger 377 

trap. I told him that as the blackmailers had watched 
him once they might have done so again, and have even 
followed him to my house. As I was speaking, the 
thought struck me of how well Providence arranges all 
for the best. If Don Bernardino had not taken from the 
library the typescript of the secret writing, it might have 
fallen into the hands of the gang. When I mentioned 
the idea to him he said in surprise : 

" But I did not take the papers ! I read them on the 
table; but did not think of moving them. Why, had I 
done so, I should have at once made suspicion; and it 
was my purpose to keep the secret if I could." An idea 
struck me and I ran over to the table to look where the 
papers usually were. 

There was not a sign of them about. Somebody had 
secured them; it could hardly have been Marjory who 
lacked any possible motive for doing so. The Spaniard, 
eagerly following my face, saw the amazement which I 
felt; he cried out: 

" Then they have taken them. The treasure may yet 
prove a lure through which we may catch them. If it 
be that they have followed me to your house, and if 
they have any suspicions that came to me on reading that 
paper, then they will surely make some attempt." If 
anything were to be tried on this line, there was no 
time to lose. I had to carry out the matter privately; 
for on mentioning to Don Bernardino that I should ask 
one of the detectives to go with him, he at once drew 

" No ! " he said, " I have no right to imperil further 
this trust. The discovery was yours, and you knew of 
the hiding place before I did; but I could not with my 
consent allow any other person to know the secret. More- 
over, these men are enemies of my country; and it is 
not well that they should know, lest they should use 

378 The Mystery of the Sea 

their knowledge for their country's aid. You and I, 
Senor, are caballero. To us there is, somewhere, a high 
rule of honour; but to these people there is only law ! " 

" Well," I said, " if you are going, you had better lose 
no time. These people have had nearly six hours al- 
ready; I left the house with Mrs. Jack a little after ten. 
But you had better go carefully. The men are des- 
perate; and if they find you alone, you may have a bad 

For answer he pulled a revolver from his pocket. 
" Since yesterday," he said, " I go armed, till these 
unhappy businesses are all over ! " 

1 then told him of the entrance to the caves, and gave 
him the key of the cellar. " Be sure you have light." I 
cautioned him " Plenty of light and matches. It will 
be towards low water when you get there. The rope 
which we used as a clue is still in its place ; we did not 
take it away." I could see that this thought was a new 
source of anxiety to him; if the gang were before him 
it would have served to lead them to the treasure itself. 
As he was going, 1 bade him remember that if there was 
any sign of the men about, he was to return at once or 
send us word, so that we could come and catch them 
like rats in a trap. In any case he was to send us word, 
so that we might have knowledge of his movements, and 
inferentially of those of our enemies. In such a struggle 
as ours, knowledge was everything. 

Not long after he had gone, Cathcart and MacRae 
arrived on horseback. They said there were three other 
saddle horses coming after them. Cathcart had a list of 
all the churches, and the manses of all the clergy of all 
shades of doctrine, in Buchan; and a pretty formidable 
list it made. He had also a map of Aberdeen County, 
and a list of such houses as had been let for the sum- 
mer or at any period during it. Such was of course 

Danger 379 

only an agent's list, and would not contain every letting 

We set to work at once with the map and the lists; 
and soon marked the names which were likely to be of 
any use to us, those which had at any time lately been 
let to strangers. Then Cathcart and Gordon and all the 
detectives, except the chief, went off on horseback with 
a list of places to visit. They were all to return to report 
as soon as possible. The chief kept tab of the places 
to be visited by each. When the rest had gone, I asked 
him if he knew where any of those supposed to be of 
the gang lived in the neighbourhood. He said he felt 
awkward in answering the question, and he certainly 
looked it. " The fact is," he said sheepishly, " since that 
young lady kicked those names on the dirt, and so into 
my thick head, I know pretty well who they are. Had 
I known before, I could easily have got those who could 
identify them; for I never saw them myself. I take it 
that ' Feathers ' is none other than Featherstone who was 
with Whisky Tommy which was Tom Mason in the 
A. T. Stewart ransom case. If those two are in it, most 
likely the one they called the ' Dago ' is a half-bred 
Spaniard that comes from somewheres over here. That 
Max that she named, if he's the same man, is a Dutch- 
man; he's about the worst of the bunch. Then for this 
game there's likely to be two Chicago bums from the 
Levee, way-down politicians and heelers. It's possible 
that there are two more; a man from Frisco that they 
call Sailor Ben what they call a cosmopolite for he 
doesn't come from nowhere in particular; and a buck 
nigger from Noo Orleans. A real bad 'un he is; of 
all the ... But I hope he isn't in the gang. If he 
is, we haven't no time to lose." 

His words made my blood run cold. Was this the 
crowd, within whose danger I had consented that Mar- 

380 The Mystery of the Sea 

jory should stand. The worst kind of scoundrels from 
all over the earth. Oh ! what it was to be powerless, and 
to know that she was in their hands. It took me all my 
strength of purpose not to weep, out of very despair. I 
think the detective must have wished to cheer me a 
little, for he went on: 

" Of course it's not their game to do her any harm, 
or let harm come to her. She's worth too many millions, 
alive and unharmed, for them to spoil their market by any 
foolishness. It's here that I trust Whisky Tommy to 
keep the rest straight. I suppose you know, Sir, that 
criminals always work in the same way every time. We 
know that when the Judge wouldn't pay up for old 
A. T., Featherstone threatened to burn up the stiff; 
but Whisky Tommy knew better than to kill the golden 
goose like that. Why he went and stole it from Feath- 
erstone and hid it somewhere about Trenton till the 
old lady coughed up about twenty-five thousand. Tom- 
my's head's level; and if that black devil isn't in the 
squeeze, he'll keep them up to the collar every time." 

" Who is the negro ? " 1 asked, for I wanted to know 
the worst. " What has he done ? " 

" What hasn't he done that's vile, is what I'd like to 
know. They're a hard crowd in the darkey side of Noo 
Orleans ; and a man doesn't get a bad name there easily, 
I tell you. There are dens there that'd make God 
Almighty blush, or the Devil either; a darkey that is 
bred in them and gets to the top of the push, doesn't 
stick at no trifles! 

" But you be easy in your mind as yet, Sir ; at present 
there's naught to fear. But if once they get safe away, 
they will try to put the screw on. God knows then what 
may happen. In the meantime, the only fear is lest, if 
they're in a tight place, they may kill her ! " 

My heart turned to ice at his words. What horrible 

Danger 3 8 1 

possibilities were there, when death for my darling was 
the " only " fear. It was in a faint enough voice I asked 

" Would they really kill her? " 

" Of course they would ; if it was their best course. 
But don't you be downhearted, Sir. There's not much 
fear of killing as yet at all events. These men are out 
for dough; and for a good heap of it, too. They're not 
going to throw away a chance till the game's up. If we 
get on to their curves quick, they'll have to think of their 
own skins. It's only when all's up that they'll act ; when 
they themselves must croak if she doesn't ! " 

Oh ! if I had known ! If I had had any suspicion of the 
dangerous nature of the game we were playing that I 
had consented that Marjory should play I'd have cut 
my tongue out before I'd have agreed. I might have 
known that a great nation like the United States would 
not have concerned itself as to any danger to an indi- 
vidual, unless there had been good cause. Oh fool! 
fool! that I had been! 

If I had been able to do anything, it might not have 
been so bad. It was necessary, however, that I should 
be at the very heart and centre of action ; for I alone knew 
the different ramifications of things, and there was al- 
ways something cropping up of which I had better 
knowledge than the others. And so I had to wait in 
what patience I could pray for. Patience and coolness 
of head were what were demanded of me for the present. 
Later on, the time might come when there would be 
action ; and 1 never doubted that when that time did 
come it would not find me wanting even in the issues of 
life and death. 


IN the dreary time of waiting I talked with the detect- 
ive chief. Everything which he told me seemed 
to torture me ; but there was a weird fascination in 
his experience as it bore on our own matter. I was face 
to face, for the first time in my life, with that callousness 
which is the outcome of the hard side of the wicked 
world. Criminal-hunters, as well as criminals, achieve 
it ; so I suppose do all whose fortunes bring them against 
the sterner sides of life. Now and again it amazed me 
to hear this man, unmistakably a good fellow and an 
upright one, weighing up crime and ciiminals in a mat- 
ter-of-fact way, without malice, without anger, without 
vindictiveness. He did seem to exercise in his habitual 
thought of his clientele that constructive condemnation 
which sways the rest of us in matters of moral judgment. 
The whole of his work, and attitude, and purpose, seemed 
to be only integral parts of a game which was being 
played. At that time I thought light of this, and conse- 
quently of him; but looking back, with judgment in 
better perspective, I am able to realise the value of just 
such things. There was certainly more chance of cooler 
thought and better judgment under these conditions, than 
when the ordinary passions and motives of human life 
held sway. This man did not seem to be chagrined, or 
put out personally in any way, by the failure of his task, 
or to have any rancour, from this cause, in his heart for 


Ardiffery Manse 383 

those to whom the failure was due. On the contrary, he, 
like a good sportsman, valued his opponent more on 
account of the cleverness which had baffled him. I 
imagined that at first he would have been angry when he 
learned how all the time in which he and his companions 
had been watching Crom Castle, and were exulting in 
the security which their presence caused, their enemies 
had been coming and going as they wished by a safe way, 
unknown; and had themselves been the watchers. But 
there was nothing of the kind; I really believe that, 
leaving out of course the possibly terrible consequences 
of his failure, he enjoyed the defeat which had come 
to him. In his own way he put it cleverly : 

" Those ducks knew their work well. I tell you this, 
in spite of the softies we have been, it isn't easy to play 
any of us for a sucker. Just fancy! the lot of us on 
sentry-go day and night round the castle, for, mind 
you, we never neglected the job for one half hour; and 
all the time, three lots of people this push, you and the 
girl, and this Dago lord of yours all going and coming 
like rabbits in a warren. What puzzles me is how you 
and Miss Drake managed to escape the observation of 
iWhisky Tommy's lot, even if you went through us ! " 

It had been after five o'clock when the party set out 
to visit the manses; at six o'clock the reports began to 
come in. The first was a message scribbled on a leaf 
torn from a note book, and sent in one of the envelopes 
taken for the purpose. 

" All right at Auquharney." From this on, messengers 
kept arriving, some on foot, some on horseback, some in 
carts: but each bearing a similar message, though 
couched in different terms. They came from Auch- 
lenchries, Heila, Mulonachie, Ardendraught, Inver- 
quohomery, Skelmuir, and Auchorachan. At nine o'clock 
the first of the searchers returned. This was Donald Mac- 

384 The Mystery of the Sea 

Rae; knowing the country he had been able to get about 
quicker than any of the others who had to keep to the 
main roads. His report was altogether satisfactory; he 
had been to six places, and in each of them there was no 
ground for even suspicion. 

It was nearly three hours before the rest were in, but 
all with the same story ; in none of the manses let to vis- 
itors through an agent, and in none if occupied by their 
incumbents, could the fugitives have hidden. The last to 
come in were the two trackers, disappointed and weary. 
They had lost the track several times; but had found it 
again on some cross road. They had finally lost it in a 
dusty road near Ardiffery and had only given up when the 
light had altogether gone. They themselves thought their 
loss was final, for they could not take up the track within 
a quarter of a mile of either side of the spot where they 
had lost it. 

It was now too late to do anything more for this night ; 
so, after a meal, all the men, except one who remained on 
watch, went to sleep for a few hours. We must start 
again before dawn. For myself I could not rest; I 
should have gone mad, I think, if I had to remain 
the night without doing something. So I determined to 
wheel over to Whinnyfold and see how Don Bernardino 
had progressed. I was anxious, as I had not heard from 

At Whinnyfold all was still, and there was no sign of 
light in the house. I had brought with me the duplicate 
key which I had given to Marjory, and which Mrs Jack 
found for me on her dressing table ; but when 1 inserted 
it, it would not turn. It was a Yale lock ; and it was not 
likely that it should have got out of order without the 
use of some force or clumsiness. I put it down in the 
first instance to the inexperience of the Don in such 
mechanism. Anyhow, there was nothing to be done 

Ardiffery Manse 385 

as to entry by that way, so I went round to the back to 
see if I could make an entry there. It was all safe, how- 
ever ; I had taken care to fasten every door and window 
on the previous night. As the front door was closed to 
me, it was only by force that I could effect entrance to 
my own house. I knocked softly at the door, and then 
louder; I thought perhaps, for some reason to be ex- 
plained, the Don had remained in the house and might 
now be asleep. There was no sound, however, and I 
began to have grave doubts in my own mind as to 
whether something serious might have happened. If so, 
there was no time to lose. Anything having gone wrong 
meant that the blackmailers had been there. If I had 
to break open the door I might as well do it myself; for 
if I should get help from the village, discussion and gos- 
sip would at once begin, if only from the fact that I could 
not wait till morning. 

I got a scaffold pole from the yard where some of the 
builder's material still remained, and managed by raising 
it on my shoulder and making a quick run forward to 
strike the door with it just over the lock. The blow was 
most efficacious; the door flew open so quickly that the 
handle broke against the wall of the passage. For a 
few seconds I paused, looking carefully round to see if 
the sound had brought any one to the spot; but all was 
still. Then carefully, and with my revolver ready in 
my right hand and the lamp of my bicycle in my left, I 
entered the house. 

A glance into each of the two sitting-rooms of the 
ground floor showed me that there was no one there ; so 
1 closed the hall-door again, and propped it shut with the 
scaffold pole. Quickly I ran over the house from top 
to bottom, looking into every room and space where 
anyone could hide. The cellar door was locked. It was 
odd indeed; there was not a sign of Don Bernardino 


386 The Mystery of the Sea 

anywhere. With a sudden suspicion I turned into the 
dining-room and looked on the table, where the several 
caskets which we had taken from the cave had lain. 

There was not a sign of them ! Some one had carried 
them off. 

For a while I thought it must have been Don Ber- 
nardino. There came back to me very vividly the con- 
versation which we had had in that very room only a 
day before; 1 seemed to see the red light of his eyes 
blaze again, as when he had told me that he would not 
stop at anything to gain possession of the treasure. It 
must have been, that when he found himself in possession, 
the desire overcame him to take away the treasure to 
where he could himself control it. 

But this belief was only momentary. Hard upon its 
heels came the remembrance of his noble attitude when I 
had come to ask his help for a woman in distress I who 
had refused his own appeal to my chivalry only a few 
hours before. No! I would not believe that he could 
act so now. In strength of my belief I spoke aloud: 
"No! I will not believe it!" 

Was it an echo to my words? or was it some mys- 
terious sound from the sea beneath? Sound there cer- 
tainly was, a hollow, feeble sound that seemed to come 
from anywhere, or nowhere. I could not locate it at 
all. There was but one part of the house unsearched, so 
I got a great piece of wood and broke open the door of 
the cellar. There was no one in it, but the square hole 
in the centre of it seemed like a mystery itself. I listened 
a moment; and the hollow sound came again, this time 
through the hole. 

There was some one in the cave below, and the sound 
was a groan. 

I lit a torch and leaning over the hole looked down. 
The floor below was covered with water, but it was only 

Ardiffery Manse 387 

a few inches deep and out of it came the face of the 

Spaniard, looking strangely white despite its natural 
swarthiness. 1 called to him. He evidently heard me, 
for he tried to answer; but I could distinguish nothing, 
I could only hear a groan of agony. I rigged up the 
windlass, and taking with me a spare piece of rope 
lowered myself into the cave. I found Don Bernardino 
just conscious ; he was unable, seemingly, to either under- 
stand my questions or to make articulate reply. I tied 
the spare rope round him, there being no time or oppor- 
tunity to examine him as he lay in the water, and taking 
the spare end with me pulled myself up again. Then, 
putting the rope to which he was attached on the wind- 
lass, I easily drew him up to the cellar. 

A short time sufficed to give him some brandy, and to 
undress him and wrap him in rugs. He shivered at 
first, but the warmth soon began to affect him. He got 
drowsy, and seemed all at once to drop asleep. I lit a 
fire and made some tea and got provisions ready. In less 
than half an hour he awoke, refreshed and quite co- 
herent. Then he told me all that had passed. He had 
opened the door without trouble, and had looked into the 
dining-room where he found the caskets still on the table. 
He did not think of searching the house. He got a light 
and went into the cellar, leaving the door open, and set 
about examining the winch, so as to know the mechan- 
ism sufficiently well as to be able to raise and lower him- 
self. Whilst stooping over the hole, he got a violent 
blow on the back of the head which deprived him of his 
senses. When he became conscious again there were 
four men in the cellar, all masked. He himself was tied 
up with ropes and gagged. The men lowered each 
other till only one remained on guard. He heard them 
calling to each other. After a long wait they had come 
back, all of them carrying: heavy burdens which 

388 The Mystery of the Sea 

they began to haul up by the windlass. He said 
that it creaked loudly with the weight as they worked it. 
He had the unutterable chagrin of seeing them pack up 
in sacks and bags, extemporised from the material in the 
house, the bullion of the treasure which his ancestor had 
undertaken to guard, and to which he had committed his 
descendants until the trust should have been fulfilled. 
When all was ready for departure which was not for 
many hours, and when two of the men had returned with 
a cart of some sort, whose wheels he heard rumbling 
they consulted as to what they should do with him. 
There was no disguise made of their intent; all was 
spoken in his hearing with the most brutal frankness. 
One man, whom he described as with grey lips of terrific 
thickness, and whose hands were black, was for knifing 
him at once or cutting his throat, and announced his own 
readiness to do the job. He was overruled, however, by 
another, presumably the leader of the gang, who said 
there was no use taking extra risks. " Let us put him 
into the cave," he said. " He may break his neck ; but 
anyhow it does not matter for the tide is rising fast and 
if anyone should come they will find that he met his death 
by an accident." 

This suggestion was carried out; he was, after the 
ropes and gag were removed with the utmost care but 
with the utmost brutality, lowered into the cave. He 
remembered no more till the deadly silence around 
him was broken by the sound, seemingly far away, of a 
heavy blow on wood which reverberated. 

I examined him all over carefully, but could find 
no definite harm done to him. This knowledge in itself 
cheered him up, and his strength and nerve began to 
come back; with his strength came determination. He 
could, however, tell me nothing of the men who had 
attacked him. He said he would know their voices again. 

Ardiffery Manse 389 

but, what with their masks and his cramped position, he 
could not see enough to distinguish anything. 

Whilst he was recovering himself I looked carefully 
round the room and house. From the marks at one of the 
windows at the back I gathered that this was the means 
by which they had gained admission. They were expert 
housebreakers; and as I gathered from the detective that 
Whisky Tommy was a bank burglar most scientific 
and difficult of all criminal trades, except perhaps, bank- 
note forgery I was not surprised that they had been 
able to gain admittance. None of the jewels which Mar- 
jory and I had taken from the cave were left behind. 
The robbers had evidently made accurate search; even 
the rubies, which I had left in the pocket of the shooting- 
coat which I had worn in the cave, had disappeared. 

One thing I gathered from their visit; they evidently 
felt secure as to themselves. They dared not risk so 
long delay had not their preparations been complete; 
and they must have been satisfied as to the mechanism 
of their escape since they could burden themselves with 
such weight of treasure. Moreover, their hiding place, 
wherever it was, could not be far off. There were en- 
gaged in this job four men; besides, there were probably 
watchers. Marjory had only recorded in her cipher six 
engaged in her abduction, when presumably their full 
strength would have been needed in case of unexpected 
difficulties or obstacles. The Secret Service chief pre- 
sumed at least eight. I determined, therefore, that I 
would get back to Crom as soon as possible, and, with 
the aid of this new light, consult as to what was best to 
be done. I wanted to take Don Bernardino with me, or 
to try to get a trap to take him on ; but he said he would 
be better remaining where he was. " I can be of no use 
to any one till I get over this shock," he said. " The 
rest here, if 1 remain longer, will do me good; and in 

390 The Mystery of the Sea 

the morning I may be able to help." I asked him 
if he was not afraid to be left alone in his present 
helpless condition: His reply showed great common 
sense : 

" The only people whom I have to fear are the last 
who will come to this place ! " 

I made him as comfortable as I could, and fixed the 
catch of the door so that the lock would snap behind 
me. Then I got on my bicycle and rode to Crom as 
quickly as I could. As it was now nearly early morning 
the men were getting ready for their day's work. Cath- 
cart and I discussed the new development with the detect- 
ive chief. I did not tell him of the treasure. It was 
gone; and all I could do was to spare the Spaniard's 
feelings. It was enough that they knew of the attack 
on Don Bernardino, and that they had taken from my 
house whatever was of value in it. As I went over the 
practical side of the work before us, I had an idea. 
It was evident that these men had some secret hiding 
place not far away ; why should it not be an empty house ? 
I made the suggestion to my two companions, who 
agreed with me that we should at once make search for 
such a place. Accordingly we arranged that one man 
of the force should go into Ellon, as soon as it was possi- 
ble to find any one up, and another into Aberdeen to try 
to find out from various agents what houses in the dis- 
trict were at present unoccupied. In the meantime I 
looked over the list of Manses and found that there were 
two which were open for letting, but had not yet been 
occupied, Aucheries and Ardiffery. We determined to 
visit the latter first, as it was nearer, amid a network of 
cross roads on the high road to Fraserburgh. When we 
were arranging plans of movement, the two trackers who 
wanted to resume their work said that we might put them 
down on our way, as the spot they aimed for lay in the 

Ardiffery Manse 391 

same direction. We left two men behind; the rest of 
us kept together. 

As we drove along in the brake, the trackers showed 
us how they had followed the carriage. It brought an 
agonising hope to me to think that we were actually 
travelling on the same road as Marjory had gone. I had 
a secret conviction that we were going right. Some- 
thing within me told me so. I had in former days days 
that now seemed so long ago when I realised that I 
had the Second Sight, come to have such confidence in my 
own intuition that now something of the same feeling 
came back to me as a reality. Oh ! how 1 longed that the 
mysterious gift might now be used on behalf of her 
I loved. What would I not have given for one such 
glimpse of her in her present situation, as I had before 
seen of Lauchlane Macleod, or of the spirits of the Dead 
from the Skares. But it is of the essence of such super- 
natural power that it will not work to command, to 
present need, to the voice of suffering or of prayer ; but 
only in such mysterious way and time as none can predi- 
cate. Whilst I thought thus, and hoped thus, and prayed 
with all the intensity of my poor breaking heart, I 
seemed to feel in me something of the mood in which the 
previous visions had come. I became lost to all sur- 
roundings; and it was with surprise that I became con- 
scious that the carriage had stopped and that the track- 
ers were getting off. We arranged with them that after 
our visit to the Manse at Ardiffery we should return for 
them, or to see how they had got on with their task. 
They were not hopeful of following a two-day-old trail of 
a carriage on these dusty roads. 

The cross road to Ardiffery branched off to our left, 
and then to the left again ; so that when we came near the 
place, we were still within easy distance, as the crow 
flies, from where we had left our men. 

392 The Mystery of the Sea 

The Manse at Ardiffery is a lonely spot, close to the 
church, but quite away from the little clachan. The 
church stands in its own graveyard, in a hollow sur- 
rounded with a wall of considerable dimensions. The 
garden and policies of the house seem as though carved 
out of the woodland growth. There is a narrow iron 
gate, sheer in the roadway, and a straight path up to the 
front of the house; one arm branches to the right in a 
curved lane-way through fir trees leading to the stable 
and farm offices at the back of the house. At the gate- 
way was a board with a printed notice that the house, 
with grounds, gardens and policies, was to be let until 
Christmas. The key could be had from, and details sup- 
plied by, Mrs. MacFie, merchant at the Ardiffery cross 
roads. The whole place had a deserted air; weeds were 
growing everywhere, and, even from the roadway, one 
could see that the windows were fouled from disuse. 

As we drew near, the odd feeling of satisfaction I can 
hardly describe it more fully seemed to grow in me. 
I was not exultant, I was scarcely hopeful ; but somehow 
the veil seemed to be lifting from my soul. We left the 
brake on the road, and went up the little avenue to the 
front of the house. For form's sake we knocked, though 
we knew well that if those we sought should be within 
there would be little chance of their responding to our 
call. We left one man at the door, in case by any chance 
any one should come; the rest of us took the other way 
round to the back of the house. We had got about half 
way along it, where there was an opening into the fields, 
when the detective chief who was in front of us held 
up his hand to stop. I saw at a glance what had struck 

Whilst the rest of the rough roadway was unkempt 
and weed-grown, the gravel from this on, to the back 
of the house, had been lately raked. 

Ardiffery Manse 393 


The only answer to the unspoken query of each of us 
was that Marjory had made some marks, intentionally or 
unintentionally or some one had; and the gang had 
tried to efface them. 

Fools ! their very effort to obliterate their trace was a 
help to us. 


THE Secret Service men spread round the house, 
moving off silently right and left, in accordance 
with the nods of their chief in answer to their 
looks of query. As they moved, keeping instinctively in 
shelter from any possible view from the house so far as 
the ground afforded opportunity, I could see that each 
felt that his gun was in its place. They all knew the 
gang they had to deal with, and they were not going 
to take any chances. MacRae said to me : 

" I'll go and get the key ! I know this country better 
than any of you ; I can run over to the cross roads in a 
few minutes and it will be less marked than driving 
there." As he went out at the gate he told the driver 
to pull down the road, till the curve shut him out of sight. 
Whilst he was gone, the men surrounded the house, keep- 
ing guard at such points that nothing coming from it 
could escape our notice. The chief tried the back door 
but it was shut ; from its rigidity it was manifestly bolted 
top and bottom. 

In less than a quarter of an hour MacRae returned and 
told us that Mrs. MacFie was coming with the key as 
quickly as she could. He offered to take it, telling her 
who he was; but she said she would come herself and 
make her service, as it would not be respectful to him and 
the other gentlemen to let them go alone. In a few 
minutes she was with us; the chief detective, Cathcart, 


The Dumb Can Speak 395 

and I stayed with MacRae, the rest of the men remaining 
on watch and hidden. There was a little difficulty with 
the lock, but we shortly got in, Mrs. MacFie leading the 
way. Whilst she was opening the shutters of the back 
room, which was evidently the Minister's study, Cath- 
cart and the chief left the room, and made a hurried, 
though thorough, search of the house. They came back 
before the old lady was well through her task, and shook 
their heads. 

When the light was let in, the room presented a scene 
of considerable disorder. It was evident that it had 
been lately inhabited, for there were scattered about, a 
good many things which did not belong to it. These 
included a washing jug, and a bowl full of dirty water; 
a rug and pillows on the sofa ; and a soiled cup and plate 
on the table. On the mantlepiece was a guttered out 
candle. When the old woman saw the state of the room, 
she lifted her hands in horrified amazement as she spoke : 

" Keep's 'a ! The tramps must ha' been here. In the 
Meenester's own study, too ! An' turnin' the whole place 
topsal-teerie. Even his bukes all jumm'lt up thegither. 
Ma certes ! but won't he be upset by yon ! " 

Whilst she had been speaking, my eyes had been taking 
in everything. All along one side of the room was a 
bookcase, rough shelves graduated up in height to 
suit the various sizes of books. There were in the 
room more than enough books to fill them; but still 
some of the shelves towards the right hand end were 
vacant and a great quantity of books lay on the floor. 
These were not tumbled about as if thrown down reck- 
lessly, but were laid upon the floor in even rows. It 
looked as if they had been taken down in masses and 
laid out in the same order as though ready to put back. 
But the books on the shelves! It was no wonder that 
the old woman, who did not understand the full meaning, 

396 The Mystery of the Sea 

was shocked; for never was seen such seeming disorder 
in any library. Seldom did a volume of a series seem to 
be alongside its fellow ; even when several were grouped 
together, the rest of the selection would be missing, or 
seen in another part of the shelf. Some of the volumes 
were upside down; others had the fronts turned out 
instead of the back. Altogether there was such disorder 
as I had never seen. And yet! . . . 

And yet the whole was planned by a clever and resolute 
woman, fighting for her life her honour. Marjory, 
evidently deprived of any means of writing there was 
neither pen nor ink nor pencil in the room and proba- 
bly forbidden under hideous threats to leave any mes- 
sage, had yet under the very eyes of her captors left 
a veritable writing on the wall, full and open for all to 
read, did they but know how. The arrangement of the 
books was but another variant of our biliteral cipher. 
Books as they should be, represented A; all others B. I 
signed to the man with the notebook, who took down the 
words wrought in the cipher as I read them off. Oh, 
how my heart beat with fear and love and pride as I real- 
ised in the message of my dear girl the inner purpose of 
her words: 

" To-morrow off north east of Banff Seagull to 
meet whaler Wilhelmina. To be Shanghaied whatever 
that means. Frightful threats to give me to the negro 
if any trouble, or letters to friends. Don't fear, dear, 
shall die first. Have sure means. God with us. Re- 
member the cave. Just heard Gardent " Here the 
message ended. The shelf was empty; and the heap 
of books, from which she had selected so many items, 
remained as they had been placed ready to her hand. 
She had been coerced; or else she feared interruption in 
her task, and did not want to cause suspicion. 

Coerced! I felt as though choking! 

The Dumb Can Speak 397 

There was nothing further to be gained here; so we 
told the old lady that we should write regarding the 
rental if we decided to take the house. When we went 
back to our wagonette, we picked up our two trackers 
there was no use for them now and went back to Crom 
as fast as the horses could gallop. It was necessary that 
we should arrange from headquarters our future plans; 
such maps and papers as we had were at Crom, where 
also any telegrams might await us. In the carriage I 
asked the detective chief what was meant by ' Shang- 
haied ' for it was evidently a criminal class word. 

" Don't you know the word/' he said surprised. " Why 
I thought every one knew that. It isn't altogether 
a criminal class word, for it belongs partly to a class 
that call themselves traders. The whalers and others 
do it when they find it hard to get men; as a rule men 
nowadays don't like shipping on long whaling voyages. 
They get such men delivered on board by the crimps, 
drunk or, more generally, hocussed. Then when they 
get near a port they make them drunk again, which isn't 
much of a job after all, and they don't make no kick; 
or if things are serious they hocus them a bit again. So 
they keep them one way or another out of sight for 
months or perhaps years. Sometimes, when those that 
are not too particular want to get rid of an inconvenient 
relative or mayhap a witness, or a creditor, or an incon- 
venient husband they just square some crimp. When 
he gets his hooks on the proper party, there ain't no 
more jamboree for him, except between the bulwarks, 
till the time is up, or the money spent, or whatever he 
is put away for is fixed as they want it." 

This was a new and enlightening horror to me. It 
opened up fresh possibilities of distress for both Marjory 
and myself. As I thought of this, I could not but be 
grateful to Montgomery for his message to the man-of- 

398 The Mystery of the Sea 

war's men. If once they succeeded in getting Marjory 
on board the Seagull we should, in the blindness of our 
ignorance as to her whereabouts, be powerless to help 
her. The last word of her message through the books 
might be a clue. It was some place, and was east of 
Banff. I got the big map out at once and began to 
search. Surely enough, there it was. Some seven or 
eight miles east of Banff was a little port in a land- 
locked bay called Gardentown. At once I sent off a wire 
to Adams at Aberdeen, and another to Montgomery to 
Peterhead on chance that it might reach him even be- 
fore that which Adams, whom he kept posted as to his 
every movement, would be sure to send to him! It 
was above all things necessary that we should locate 
first the Seagull and then the Wilhelmina. If we could 
get hold of either vessel we might frustrate the plans of 
the miscreants. I asked Adams to have the touching of 
the Wilhelmina at any port telegraphed to him at once 
from Lloyds. 

He was quite awake at his end of the wire ; I got back 
an answer in an incredibly short time: 

" Wilhelmina left Lerwick for Arctic seas yesterday." 
Very shortly afterwards another telegram came from 

" Montgomery reports Seagull fishing this summer at 
Fraserburgh. Went out with fleet two days ago." Al- 
most immediately after this came a third telegram from 

"Keystone notified. Am coming .to join you." 
After a consultation we agreed that it was better that 
some of us should wait at Crom for the arrival of 
Adams, who had manifestly some additional knowledge. 
In the meantime we despatched two of the Secret Serv- 
ice men up to the north of Buchan. One was to go to 
Fraserburgh, and the other to Banff. Both were to 

The Dumb Can Speak 399 

follow the cliffs or the shore to Gardentown. On their 
way they would get a personal survey of the coast and 
might pick up some information. MacRae went off him- 
self to send a telegram ordering his yacht, which was 
at Inverness, to be taken to Peterhead, where he would 
join her. " It may be handy to have her at the mouth 
of the Firth," he said. " She's a clipper, and if we 
should want to overhaul the Seagull or the Wilhelmina, 
she can easily do it." 

It was a long, long wait till Adams arrived. I did 
not think that a man could endure such misery as I 
suffered, and live. Every minute, every second, was 
filled with some vague terror. Omne ignotum pro miri- 
fico. When Fear and Fancy join hands, there is surely 
woe and pain to some poor human soul. 

When Adams at last arrived he had much to tell; but 
it was the amplification of what we had heard, rather 
than fresh news. The U. S. cruiser Keystone had been 
reached from Hamburgh, and was now on her way to a 
point outside the three-mile limit off Peterhead; and a 
private watch had been set on every port and harbour 
between Wick and Aberdeen. The American Embassy 
was doing its work quietly as befits such an arm of the 
State; but its eyes and ears were open, and I had no 
doubts its pockets, too. Its hand was open now; but it 
would close, did there be need. 

When Adams learned our purpose he became elated. 
He came over to me and laid his hand tenderly on my 
shoulder as he said: 

" I know how it is with you, old fellow ; a man don't 
want more than two eyes for that. But there's a many 
men would give all they have to stand in your shoes, for 
all you suffer. Cheer up! At the worst now it's her 
death ! For myself 1 feared at first there might be worse ; 
but it's plain to me that Miss Drake is up to everything 

4OO The Mystery of the Sea 

and ready for everything. My! but she's a noble girl! 
If anything goes wrong with her there's going to be 
some scrapping round before the thing's evened up ! " 
He then went on to tell me that Montgomery would be 
joined at Peterhead by two other naval fellows who were 
qualified in all ways to do whatever might be required. 
" Those boys won't stop at much, I can tell you," he 
said. " They're full of sand, the lot ; and I guess that 
when this thing is over, it won't harm them at Washing- 
ton to know that they've done men's work of one kind or 

It was comfort to me to hear him talk. Sam Adams 
knew what he meant, when he wanted to help a friend; 
thinking it all over I don't see what better he could have 
said to me things being as they were. He went back to 
Aberdeen to look out for news or instructions, but was 
to join us later at Banff. 

We left two men at Crom; one to be always on the 
spot, and the other to be free to move about and send 
telegrams, etc. Then the rest of us drove over to Fyvie 
and caught the train to Macduff. 

When we arrived we sent one man in the hotel in 
Banff in case we should want to communicate, and the 
rest of us drove over in a carriage to Gardentown. It is 
a lovely coast, this between Banff and Gardentown, but 
we should have preferred it to be less picturesque and 
more easy to watch. 

When our man met us, which he did with exceeding 
caution, he at once began : 

" They've got off, some of them ; but I think the rest of 
the gang's ashore still. That's why I'm so particular; 
they may be watchin' us now for all I can tell." Then 
he proceeded to give us all the information he had 

" The Seagull was here until yesterday when she went 

The Dumb Can Speak 401 

out into the Firth to run down to Fifeshire, as the fish 
were reported going south. She had more than her 
complement of men, and her skipper volunteered the in- 
formation that two of them were friends whom they 
were taking to join their own boat which was waiting 
for them at Burnt Island. From all accounts I gather," 
he went on, " that they wasn't anything extra high- 
toned. Most of them were drunk or getting a jag on 
them; and it took the two sober ones and the Skipper 
to keep them in order. The Skipper was mighty angry ; 
he seemed somehow ashamed of them, and hurried 
out of port as quick as he could when he made his 
mind up. They say he swore at them frightful; though 
that was not to be wondered at when he himself had to 
help bring the nets on board. One of the men on the 
quay told me that he said if that was the effect on his men 
of waiting round for weeks doing nothing, he would see 
that another time their double-dashed noses were kept 
to the grindstone. I've been thinking since I heard of the 
trouble they had in carrying on the nets, that there was 
something under them that they meant to hide. The 
men here tell me that the hand-barrow they carried would 
have been a job for six men, not three, for it was piled 
shoulder high with nets. That's why the skipper was 
so wrathy with them. They say he's a sort of giant, 
a Dutchman with an evil, cunning face; and that all the 
time he was carrying the back handles he never stopped 
swearing at the two in front, though they was nigh 
speechless with the effort of carrying, and their faces 
as red as blazes. If I'm right we've missed them this 
time. They've got the girl on the fishing boat; and 
they're off for the whaler. She's the one we'll have to 
find next ! " 

As he spoke my heart kept sinking deeper and deeper 

down. My poor girl, if alive, was in the hands of her 


402 The Mystery of the Sea 

enemies. 'In all the thoughts which filled me with an- 
guish unspeakable there was but one gleam of consola- 
tion the negro was not on board, too. I had come to 
think of this miscreant as in some way the active prin- 
ciple of whatever evil might be. 

Here, we were again at a fault in our pursuit. We 
must wait for the reports of Montgomery who was 
making local inquiries. We had wired him to join us, 
or send us word to Gardentown ; and he had replied that 
he was on the way. 



WE had to-day been so hot in the immediate pur- 
suit of Marjory that we had hardly been 
able to think of the other branches of our 
work ; but all at once, the turn of the wheel brought up 
as the most important matter before us what had been 
up to now only a collateral. Hitherto the Seagull had 
been our objective; but now it must be the Wilhelmina. 
Adams had been in charge of the general investigation 
as to these boats, whilst Montgomery had been attend- 
ing to local matters. It was to the former, therefore, 
rather than the latter, that we had to look for enlighten- 
ment. Montgomery and MacRae were the first to ar- 
rive, coming on horseback from Fraserburgh, the former 
with all the elan and abandonment of a sailor ashore. He 
was frightfully chagrined when he heard that the Seagull 
had got safely away. " Just like my luck ! " he said, " I 
might have got her in time if I had known enough; but 
I never even heard of Gardentown till your wire came to 
me. It isn't on the map." He was still full of lament- 
ings, though I could tell from the way he was all nerved 
and braced up that we should hear of him when the time 
for action came. When we arrived at the station at 
Macduff to meet Adams, we hurried him at once into the 
carriage which we had waiting; he gave us his news as 
we hurried off to Gardentown. We felt that it might 
be a mistake our going there, for we should be out of the 


404 The Mystery of the Sea 

way of everything; but we had made arrangements for 
news to be sent there, and it was necessary we should go 
there before holding our council of war. Adams told us 
that the whaler Wilhelmina had been reported at Ler- 
wick two days ago, but that she had suddenly left on 
receipt of a telegram, hurrying in the last of her stores 
at such a rate that some of them had been actually left 
behind. He had not been able to gain any specific 
information by wire. The Master of the ship had said 
to the Harbour Master that he was going to Nova 
Zembla ; but nothing more definite could be obtained. 

When we got together in the hotel at Gardentown we 
were surprised by another arrival; none other than Don 
Bernardino, who had come by the same train as Adams, 
but had had to wait to get a carriage. We had got away 
so quickly that none of us had seen him. 

Things were now at such a stage that it would not do to 
have any concealment whatever ; and so after a moment in 
private with the Don, I told my companions of the attack 
on the Spaniard in my house, and of the carrying off 
the great treasure. I did not give any details of the 
treasure or its purpose ; nor did I even mention the trust. 
This was now the Don's secret, and there was no need to 
mention it. We all agreed that if we should have any 
chance at all of finding Marjory, it would be by finding 
and following the members of the gang left on shore. 
Sam Adams who was, next to the Secret Service men, the 
coolest-headed of our party, summed up the situation. 

" Those fellows haven't got off yet. It is evident that 
they only came to look for the treasure after Miss Drake 
had been shipped off 'from Gardentown. And I'm pretty 
sure that they are waiting somewhere round the coast 
for the Wilhelmina to pick them up; or for them to get 
aboard her somehow. They've got a cartload of stuff 
at the very least to get away ; and you may bet your sweet 

Dunbuy Haven 405 

life that they don't mean to leave it to chance. Moreover, 
you can't lay your hand at any minute on a whaler ready 
for shanghaieing any one. This one has been fixed up 
on purpose, and was waiting up at Lerwick for a long 
time ready to go when told. I think myself that it's more 
than likely she has orders to take them off herself, for 
a fishing smack like the Seagull that has to be in and out 
of these ports all the time, doesn't want to multiply the 
chances of her discovery. Now that she has done a crim- 
inal thing and is pretty sure that it can't be proved 
against her, she'll take her share of the swag, or what- 
ever was promised her, and clear out. If the Wil- 
helmina has to get off the gang it'll have to be some- 
where off this coast. They are nearly all strangers to 
start with, and wouldn't know where else to go. If 
they go south they get at once into more thickly peopled 
shores, where the chances of getting off in secret would 
be less. They daren't go anywhere along the shore 
of the Firth, for their ship might be cut off at the mouth, 
and they might be taken within the three-mile limit and 
searched. Beyond the Firth they can know nothing. 
Therefore, we have got to hunt them along this shore; 
and from the lie of the land I should say that they will 
try to get off somewhere between Old Slains and Peter- 
head. And I'll say further that, in-as-much-as the shore 
dips in between Whinnyfold and Girdleness outside Ab- 
erdeen, the ship will prefer to keep up the north side, 
so that she can beat out to sea at once, when she has got 
her cargo aboard." 

" Sam is about right ! " broke in Montgomery " I have 
been all along the coast since we met, surveying the 
ground for just this purpose. I tried to put myself in 
the place of that crowd, and to find a place just such as 
they would wish". They could get out at Peterhead or 
at Boddam, and so I have set a watch at these places. 

406 The Mystery of the Sea 

Some of our sailors who were sent up to me from London 
are there now, and I'll stake my word that if the Wil- 
helmina tries to come in to either of these places she won't 
get out again with Marjory Drake on board. But it's 
not their game to come near a port. They've got 
to lie off shore, somewhere agreed on, and take off their 
friends in a boat. There are dozens of places between 
Cruden and Peterhead where a boat could lie hidden, 
and slip out safely enough. When they got aboard they 
could hoist in the boat or scuttle her ; and then, up sails and 
off before any one was the wiser. What I propose, there- 
fore, is this, for I take it I'm the naval expert here such 
as it is. We must set a watch along this bit of coast, so 
as to be ready to jump on them when they start out. 
We can get the Keystone to lie off Buchan ; and we can 
signal her when we get sign of our lot She'll be well 
on the outside, and these scallywags don't know that 
she'll be there to watch them. When the time comes, 
she'll crowd them into shore; and we'll be ready for 
them there. If she can hunt the Wilhelmina into the 
Firth it will be easy enough to get her. " Fighting 
Dick " Morgan isn't a man to stand on ceremony ; and 
you can bet your bottom dollar that if he gets a sight 
of the Dutchman he'll pretty well see that she hasn't any 
citizen of the United States aboard against her will. 
Dick wouldn't mind the people in Washington much, and 
he'd take on the Dutch to-morrow as well as the Span- 
iards. Now, if in addition this gentleman's yacht is to 
the fore, with any one of us here aboard to take responsi- 
bility, I guess we can overhaul the whaler without losing 

" I'll be aboard ! " said Donald MacRae quietly. " The 
Sporran is due at Peterhead this afternoon. Just you 
fit me up with signals so that we'll know what to do 
when we get word ; and I'll see to the rest. My men are 

Dunbuy Haven 407 

of my own clan, and I'll answer for them. They'll not 
hang back in anything, when I'm in the front of them." 

I wrung the hands of the two young fellows. East 
and West, it was all the same! The old fighting gal- 
lantry was in their hearts ; and with the instinct of born 
Captains they were ready to accept all responsibility. 
All they asked was that their men should follow them. 

They immediately sat down to arrange their signals. 
Montgomery was of course trained in this work, and 
easily fixed up a simple scheme by which certain orders 
could be given by either flags, or lights, or rockets. 
There was not need for much complication ; it was under- 
stood that when the Wilhelmina should be sighted she 
should be boarded at once, wherever or however she 
might be. We were, one and all of us, prepared to set 
at defiance every law international, maritime, national 
or local. Under the circumstances we felt that, given 
we could once get on track with our enemy, we held a 
great power in our hands. 

Before long, MacRae was off to Peterhead to join his 
yacht, which would at once start on a sort of sentry-go 
up and down the coast. The rest of us set about ar- 
ranging to spread ourselves along the shore between 
Cruden and Peterhead. We did not arrange watches, 
for time was now precious to all, on both sides of 
the encounter. If an attempt was to be made to 
take off the treasure, it would in all probability be made 
before morning; every hour that passed multiplied the 
difficulties and dangers of the blackmailers. The weather 
was becoming misty, which was a source of inconvenience 
to us all. Thick patches of white fog began to drift 
in from the north east, and there was ominous promise 
in the rising wind of there being danger on sea and shore 
before many hours had passed. We each took provision 
with us for the night, and a sufficiency of rockets and 

408 The Mystery of the Sea 

white and red lights for our signalling work, in case 
there might be need of such. 

In disposing of our forces, we had not of course a 
sufficiency of men to form a regular cordon; but we so 
arranged ourselves that there was no point at which a 
boat could land which was not in view of some of us. 
I was terribly anxious, for as the evening came on, the 
patches of white mist came driving in more quickly, and 
getting thicker and more dense. Between them the 
sea was clear, and there was no difficulty in keeping ac- 
curate observation; but as each fog belt came down on 
the rising wind our hearts fell. It would come on like 
a white cloud, which would seem to strike the land and 
then close in on every side, as though wrapping the 
shore in a winding sheet. My own section for watch- 
ing was between Slains Castle and Dunbuy, as wild and 
rocky a bit of coast as any one could wish to see. Behind 
Slains runs in a long narrow inlet with beetling cliffs, 
sheer on either side, and at its entrance a wild turmoil 
of rocks are hurled together in titanic confusion. From 
this point northward, the cliffs are sheer, to where the in- 
let of Dunbuy has its entrance guarded by the great rock, 
with its myriad of screaming wildfowl and the white 
crags marking their habitation. Midway between those 
parts of my sentry-go is a spot which I could not but 
think would be eminently suited for their purpose, and 
on this for some time I centred my attention. It is a 
place where in old days the smugglers managed to get 
in many a cargo safe, almost within earshot of the coast- 
guards. The modus operandi was simple. On a dark 
night when it was known that the coastguards were, in- 
tentionally or by chance, elsewhere, a train of carts would 
gather quickly along the soft grass tracks, or through the 
headlands of the fields. A crane was easily improvised of 
two crossed poles, with a longer one to rest on them; 

Dunbuy Haven 409 

one end held inland, could be pushed forward or drawn 
back, so as to make the other end hang over the water 
or fall back over the inner edge of the cliff. A pulley 
at the end of this pole, and a long rope with its shore 
end attached to the harness of a strong horse completed 
the equipment. Then, when the smugglers had come 
under the cliff, the rope was lowered and the load at- 
tached; the waiting horse was galloped inland, and in 
a few seconds the cluster of barrels or cases was swung 
up on the cliff and distributed amongst the waiting carts. 
It would be an easy matter to invert the process. If 
all were ready and I knew that the gang were too 
expert to have any failing in that respect a few minutes 
would suffice to place the whole of the treasure in a wait- 
ing boat. The men, all save one, could be lowered the 
same way, and the last man could be let down by the" 
rope held from below. I knew that the blackmailers had 
possession of at least one cart; in any case, to men so 
desperate and reckless to get temporary possession of a 
few carts in a farming country like this would be no 
difficult task. So I determined to watch this spot 
with icxtra care. It was pretty bare at top; but there 
was a low wall of stone and clay, one of those 
rough fences which are so often seen round cliff fields. 
I squatted down behind a corner of this wall, from which 
I could see almost the whole stretch of my division. No 
boat could get into Dunbuy or Lang Haven, or close to 
the Castle rocks without my seeing it; the cliff from 
there up to where I was was sheer, and I could see well 
into the southern passage of the Haven inside Dunbuy 
Rock. Sometimes when the blanket of fog spread over the 
sea, I could hear the trumpeting of some steamer far 
out ; and when the fog would lift, I would see her funnels 
spouting black smoke in her efforts to clear so dangerous 
a coast. Sometimes a fishing boat on its way up or down 

410 The Mystery of the Sea 

would run in shore, close hauled ; or a big sailing vessel 
would move onward with that imperceptible slowness 
which marks the progress of a ship far out at sea. When 
any fishing boat came along, my heart beat as I scanned 
her with the field glass which I had brought with me. I 
was always hoping that the Seagull would appear, though 
why I know not, for there was now little chance indeed 
that Marjory would be on board her. 

After a spell of waiting, which seemed endless and un- 
endurable, in one of the spells of mist I thought I saw 
on the cliflF a woman, taking shelter of every obstacle, 
as does one who is watching another. At that moment 
the mist was thick; but when it began to thin, and to 
stream away before the wind in trails like smoke, I 
saw that it was Gormala. Somehow the sight of her 
made my heart beat wildly. She had been a factor of 
so many strange incidents in my life of late years inci- 
dents which seemed to have some connection or fatal se- 
quence that her presence seemed to foretell something 
fresh, and to have some kind of special significance. I 
crouched still lower behind the corner of the wall, and 
watched with enhanced eagerness. A very short study of 
her movements showed me that she was not watching any 
specific individual. She was searching for some one, or 
some thing ; and was in terror of being seen, rather than 
of missing the object of her search. She would peer 
carefully over the edge of the cliff, lying down on her 
face to do so, and putting her head forward with the 
most elaborate care. Then, when she had satisfied her- 
self that what she sought was not within sight, she 
would pass on a little further and begin her survey over 
again. Her attitude during the prevalence of a mist 
was so instructive, that I found myself unconsciously 
imitating her. She would remain as still as if turned 
to stone, with one ear to windward, listening with sharp, 

Dunbuy Haven 411 

preternatural intentness. I wondered at first that I could 
not hear the things that she manifestly did, for the 
expression of her face was full of changes. When, how- 
ever, I remembered that she was born and reared amongst 
the islands, and with fisher folk and sea folk of all kinds 
whose weather instincts are keener than is given to 
the inland born, her power was no longer a mystery. 
How I longed at that moment to have something of 
her skill ! And then came the thought that she had long 
ago offered to place that very power at my disposal ; and 
that I might still gain her help. Every instant, as past 
things crowded back to my memory, did that help seem 
more desirable. Was it not her whom I had seen watch- 
ing Don Bernardino when he left my house; mayhap 
she had guided him to it. Or might it not have been 
Gormala who had brought the blackmailers to my door. 
If she had no knowledge of them, what was she doing 
here now ? Why had she sought this place of all places ; 
why at this time of all times? What or whom was she 
seeking amongst the cliffs? 

I determined not to lose sight of her at present, no 
matter what might happen; later, when I had come at 
her purpose, either by guessing or by observation, I could 
try to gain her services. Though she had been enraged 
with me, I was still to her a Seer; and she believed 
must believe from what had passed that I could read 
for her the Mystery of the Sea. 

As she worked along the cliff above Dunbuy Haven, 
where the rock overhung the water, she seemed to in- 
crease both her interest and her caution. I followed 
round the rude wall which ran parallel to the cliff, BO 
that I might be as near to her as possible. 

Dunbuy Haven is a deep cleft in the granite rock 
in the shape of a Y, the arms of which run seawards 
and are formed by the mother cliff on either hand and the 

412 The Mystery of the Sea 

lofty crags of the island of Dunbuy. In both these arms 
there is deep water; but when there is a sea on, or when 
the wind blows strong, they are supremely dangerous. 
Even the scour of the tide running up or down makes 
a current difficult to stem. In fair weather, however, it 
is fairly good for boating; though the swell outside may 
be trying to those who are poor sailors. I had often 
tossed on that swell when I had been out with the 
salmon fishers, when they had been drawing their deep 
floating nets. 

Presently I saw Gormala bend, and then disappear 
out of sight. She had passed over the edge of the cliff. 
I went cautiously after her, and throwing myself on my 
face so that she could not see me, peered over. 

There was a sort of sheep track along the face of 
the cliff, leading downward in a zigzag. It was so steep, 
and showed so little foothold, that even in the state of 
super-excitement in which I then was, it made me dizzy 
to look at it. But the old woman, trained on the crags 
of the western islands, passed along it as though it 
were the broad walk of a terraced garden. 


AFTER Gormala had disappeared down the zig- 
zag under the rock, where I could no longer 
see her movements, I waited for her return. At 
the end of the Haven, where the little beach runs up to the 
edge of the cliff, there is a steep path. Even this is so 
steep that it is impracticable to ordinary persons; only 
fisher folk, dalesmen and hunters can use such ways. 
For myself I dare not leave my post; from the end of 
the Haven I could not see any part at all of the coast I 
had come to watch, except the narrow spot between 
great cliffs where the channels ran right and left of the 
Rock of Dunbuy. So I crept back to my hiding place 
behind the angle of the wall, from which I could watch 
the entrance to the track down which she had passed. 

Time wore away slowly, slowly; and the mist kept 
coming in more frequent belts, heavier and more dank. 
After the sunset the fog seemed to come more heavily 
still, so that the promise of the night was darkness in- 
vincible. In Aberdeen, however, the twilight is long, 
and under ordinary conditions it is easy to see for hours 
after sunset. All at once, after the passing of a belt 
of mist, I was startled by a voice behind me : 

" And for what is it ye watch, the nicht ? Is it the 
Mystery o' the Sea that holds ye to the dyke; or maybe 
it is the treasure that ye seek ! " Gormala had evidently 
come up the path at the end of the Haven. For a while 

414 The Mystery of the Sea 

I did not say a word, but thought the matter over. Now, 
if ever, was there need to use my wits, and I could best 
deal with Gormala if I should know something of her 
own wishes beforehand ; so I tried to master her purpose 
and her difficulties. Firstly, she must have been in 
search of some hiding place herself, or she would not 
have come behind the wall; I was quite sure that she 
had not known of my presence before she went down the 
sheep track. If she wanted cover, what then was it she 
was watching? She had been down to the beach of 
the Haven, and so must have known whether or no 
it was bare of interest. As she was choosing a corner 
whence she could watch the track, it was at least likely 
that she expected some one to go up or down by it. If 
she were looking for some one to go down, she would 
surely rather watch its approaches than the place itself. 
It was, therefore, for some one to come up for whom 
she wished to watch. As, instead of hurrying away or 
hiding herself from me when she had seen me without 
my seeing her, she had deliberately engaged with me in 
conversation, it was evident that she did not expect 
whomever she watched for to come up at once. In 
fine I concluded, she intended to watch for some one who 
might come; with this knowledge I drew a bow at a 
venture : 

" So your friend isn't coming up yet ? Why didn't you 
fix matters when you were down below ? " For an in- 
stant she was betrayed into showing astonishment; the 
surprise was in both her expression and in the tones 
of her voice as she replied: 

" How kent ye that I was doon the Haven ? " Then 
she saw her mistake and went on with a scowl : 

" Verra clever ye are wi' yer guesses ; and a daft 
aud wife am I to no ken ye better ? " Why did " 

" Did you find him down below ? " even whilst I was 

Gormala's Last Help 415 

speaking the conviction came to me I scarcely know 
how, but it was there as though deep-rooted in my brain 
all my life that our enemies were down below, or that 
they had some hiding place there. Gormala must have 
seen the change in my face, for she exclaimed with 

" It would hae been better for ye that ye had taken 
my sairvice. The een that watched others micht hae 
been watchin' to yer will. But it's a' ower the noo. 
What secret there was is yours nae mair; an' it may 
be waur for ye that ye flouted me in the days gone." 
As she spoke, the bitterness of her manner was beyond 
belief; the past rushed back on me so fiercely that I 
groaned. Then came again, but with oh ! what pain, the 
thought of my dear one in the hands of her enemies. 

Let no man question the working of the Almighty's 
hand. In that moment of the ecstasy of pain, some- 
thing had spoken to the heart of the old woman beside 
me; for when I came back to myself they were differ- 
ent eyes which looked into mine. They were soft and 
full of pity. All the motherhood which ever had been, 
or might have been, in that lonely soul was full awake. 
It was with a tender voice that she questioned me: 

" Ye are muckle sad laddie. Do I no ken a look like 
that when I speer it, and know that the Fates are to 
their wark. What maks ye greet laddie; what maks 
ye greet ? " for by this time the revulsion of tenderness 
had been too much for me and I was openly weeping. 
" Is it that the lassie is gone f rae ye ? Weel I ken that 
nane but a lassie can mak a strong man greet." 1 felt 
that the woman's heart was open to me; and spoke with 
all the passion of my soul : 

" Oh, Gormala help me ! Perhaps you can, and it 
may not be too late. She is stolen away and is in the 
hands of her enemies; wicked and desperate men who 

4i 6 The Mystery of the Sea 

have her prisoner on a ship somewhere out at sea. Her 
life, her honour are at stake. Help me if you can; and 
I will bless you till the last hour of my life ! " The 
old woman's face actually blazed as I spoke. She seemed 
to tower up in the full of her gaunt height to the stature 
of her woman's pride, as with blazing eyes she answered 

" What ! a woman, a lassie, in the hands o' wicked 
men! Aye an' sic a bonnie, gran' lassie as yon, though 
she did flout me in the pride of her youth and strength. 
Laddie, I'm wi' ye in all ye can dae ! Wi' a' the strength o' 
my hairt an' the breath o' my body ; for life or for death ! 
Ne'er mind the past; bad or good for me it is ower; 
and frae this oot I'm to your wark. Tell me what I 
can dae, an' the grass'll no grow under my feet. A 
bonnie bit lassie in the power o' wicked men! I may 
hae been ower eager to win yer secret; but I'm no that 
bad to let aught sic come between me and the duty to 
what is pure and good ! " She seemed grand and noble 
in her self-surrender; such a figure as the poets of the 
old sagas may have seen in their dreams, when the 
type of noble old womanhood was in their hearts; in the 
times when the northern nations were dawning. I was 
quite overcome; I could not speak. I took her hand 
and kissed it. This seemed to touch her to the quick; 
with a queer little cry she gasped out: 

" Oh, laddie, laddie ! " and said no more. Then 1 told 
her of how Marjory had been carried off by the black- 
mail gang ; I felt that she was entitled to this confidence. 
When I had spoken, she beat with her shut hand on the 
top of the wall and said in a smothered way : 

" Och ! if I had but kent ; if I had but kent ! To think 
that I might hae been watchin' them instead o' speerin' 
round yon hoose o' yours, watchin' to wring yer secret 
frae ye, an' aidin' yer enemies in their wark. First the 

Gormala's Last Help 417 

outland man wi' the dark hair; an' then them along wi' 
the black man wi' the evil face that sought ye the nicht 
gone. Wae is me! Wae is me! that I ha' done harm 
to a' in the frenzy o' my lust, and greed, and curiosity ! " 
She took on so badly that I tried to comfort her. I 
succeeded to a measure, when I had pointed out that the 
carrying off of Marjory was altogether a different matter 
from what had gone on in my house. Suddenly she 
stopped rocking herself to and fro; holding up one long 
gaunt arm as I had seen her do several times before, she 
said : , 

" But what matters it after a' ! We're in the hands 
o' Fate! An' there are Voices that speak an' Een that 
see. What is ordered of old will be done for true; no 
matter how we may try to work our own will. Tis 
little use to kick against the pricks." 

Then all at once she became brisk and alert. In a 
most practical tone of voice she said: 

" Noo tell me what I can dae ! Weel I ken, that 
ye hae a plan o' yer ain; an' that you and ithers are 
warkin' to an end that ye hae set. Ye hae one ither wi' 
ye the nicht ; for gude or ill." She paused, and I asked 

" Why did you go down the sheep path to the Haven. 
For what or for whom were you looking?" 

" I was lookin' for the treasure that I suspect was 
ta'en f rae your hoose ; an' for them that took it ! 'Twas 
I that guided them, after the dark man had gone; and 
watched whiles they were within. Then they sent me 
on a lang errand away to Ellon; and when I got back 
there was nane there. I speered close, and saw the 
marks o' a cairt heavy loaden. It was lost on the high 
road; an' since then, nicht an' day hae I sought for any 
trace; but all in vain. But I'm thinkin' that it's nigh 

to here they've hid it; I went down the yowes' roadie, 


4i 8 The Mystery of the Sea 

an' alang the rock, an' up the bit beach; but never a 
sign did I see. There's a many corners aboot the crags 
here, where a muckle treasure might lie hid, an' nane the 
wiser save them that pit it there ! " Whilst she was 
talking I was scribbling a line in my pocket-book ; I tore 
out the page and handed it to her: 

" If you would help me take that letter for I must not 
leave here. Give it to the dark gentleman whom you 
know by sight. He is somewhere on the rocks beyond 
the Castle." My message was to tell Don Bernardino 
that I believed the treasure was hidden somewhere near 
me, and that the bearer of the note would guide him if 
he thought wise to join me. 

Then I waited, waited. The night grew darker and 
darker ; and the fog belts came so thick and so heavy that 
they almost became one endless mass. Only now and 
again could I get a glimpse of the sea outside the 
great rock. Once, far off out at sea but floating in on 
the wind, I heard eight bells sound from a ship. My 
heart beat at the thought ; for if the Keystone were close 
at hand it might be well for us later on. Then there was 
silence, long and continuous. A silence which was of 
the night alone ; every now and again when some sound 
of life from near or far came to break its monotony the 
reaction became so marked that silence seemed to be a 
positive quality. 

All at once I became conscious that Gormala was 
somewhere near me. 1 could not see her, I could not 
hear her; but it was no surprise to me when through 
the darkness I saw her coming close to me, followed 
by Don Bernardino. They both looked colossal through 
the mist. 

As quickly as I could, I told the Don of my suspicions ; 
and asked his advice. He agreed with me as to the proba- 
bilities of the attempt to escape, and announced his will- 

Gormala's Last Help 419 

ingness to go down the path to Dunbuy Haven and ex- 
plore it thoroughly so far as was possible. Accordingly, 
with Gormala to guide him, he went to the end of the 
Haven and descended the steep moraine it was a declen- 
sion rather than a path. For myself I was not sanguine as 
to a search. The night was now well on us, and even had 
the weather been clear it would have been a difficult task 
to make search in such a place, where the high cliffs all 
around shut out the possibilities of side light. Moreover, 
along the Haven, as with other such openings on this 
iron-bound coast, there were patches of outlying rock 
under the cliffs. Occasionally these were continuous, so 
that at the proper state of the tide a fairly good climber 
could easily make way along them. Here, however, 
there was no such continuity; the rocks rising from the 
sea close under the cliffs were in patches; without a 
boat it would be useless to attempt a complete exploration. 
I waited, however, calmly; I was gaining patience now 
out of my pain. A good while elapsed before the Don 
returned, still accompanied by Gormala. He told me 
that only the beach had been possible for examination; 
but as far as he could see out by either channel, there 
was no sign of anyone hiding, or any bulk which could 
be such as we sought. 

He considered it might be advisable if he went to warn 
the rest of our party of our belief as to the place ap- 
pointed, and so took his way up north. Gormala re- 
mained with me so as to be ready to take any message 
if occasion required. She looked tired, so tired and 
weary that I made her lie down behind the rough wall. 
For myself sleep was an impossibility ; 1 could not have 
slept had my life or sanity depended on it. To soothe 
her and put her mind at rest, I told her what she had 
always wanted to know; what I had seen that night at 
Whinnyfold when the Dead came up from the sea. That 

420 The Mystery of the Sea 

quieted her, and she soon slept. So I waited and waited, 
and the time crept slowly away. 

All at once Gormala sat up beside me, broad awake 
and with all her instincts at her keenest. " Whish! " she 
said, raising a warning hand. At this moment the fog 
belt was upon us, and on the wind, now risen high, the 
white wreaths swept by like ghosts. She held her ear 
as before towards seaward and listened intently. This 
time there could be no mistake ; from far off through the 
dampness of the fog came the sound of a passing ship. I 
ran out from behind the wall and threw myself face down 
at the top of the cliff. I was just at the angle of the 
opening of the Haven and I could see if a boat entered 
by either channel. Gormala came beside me and peered 
over; then she whispered: 

" I shall gang doon the yowes' roadie ; it brings me to 
the Haven's mooth, and frae thence I can warn ye if 
there be aught ! " Before I replied she had flitted 
away, and I saw her pass over the edge of the cliff and 
proceed on her perilous way. I leaned over the edge of 
the cliff listening. Down below I heard now and again 
the sound of a falling pebble, dislodged from the path, 
but I could see nothing whatever. Below me the black 
water showed now and again in the lifting of the fog. 

The track outwards leads down to the sea at the south- 
ern corner of the opening of the Haven ; so I moved on 
here to see if I could get any glimpse of Gormala. The 
fog was now on in a dense mass, and I could see nothing 
a couple of feet from me. I heard, however, a sort of 
scramble; the rush and roll of stones tumbling, and the 
hollow reverberating plash as they struck the water. My 
heart jumped, for I feared that some accident might 
have happened to Gormala. I listened intently ; but heard 
no sound. I did not stay, however, for I knew that the 
whole effort of the woman, engaged on such a task, would 

Gormala's Last Help 421 

be to avoid betraying herself. I was right in my surmise, 
for after a few minutes of waiting I heard a very faint 
groan. It was low and suppressed, but there was no 
mistaking it as it came up to me through the driving 
mist. It was evident that Gormala was in some way in 
peril, and common humanity demanded that I should go 
down to help her if I could. It was no use my attempting 
the sheep track; if she had failed on it there would not 
be much chance of my succeeding. Besides, there had 
been a manifest slip or landslide; and more than proba- 
bly the path, or some necessary portion of it, had been 
carried away. It would have been madness to attempt 
it, so I went to the southern side of the cliff where the 
rock was broken, and where there was a sort of rugged 
path down to the sea. There was also an advantage about 
this way; I could see straight out to sea to the south of 
Dunbuy Rock. Thus I need not lose sight of any shore- 
coming boat; which might happen were I on the other 
path which opened only in the Haven. 

It was a hard task, and by daylight I might have found 
it even more difficult. In parts it actually overhung the 
water, with an effect of dizziness which was in itself 
dangerous. However, I persevered; and presently got 
down on the cluster of rocks overhung by the cliff. Here, 
at the very corner of the opening to the Haven, under the 
spot where the sheep track led down, I found Gormala al- 
most unconscious. She revived a little when I lifted her 
and put my flask to her lips. For a few seconds she 
leaned gasping against my breast with her poor, thin, 
grey hair straggling across it. Then, with a great effort, 
she moaned out feebly, but of intention keeping her voice 
low lest even in that lone spot amid the darkness of the 
night and the mist there might be listeners : 

" I'm done this time, laddie ; the rocks have broke me 
when the roadie gav way. Listen tae me, I'm aboot to 

422 The Mystery of the Sea 

dee; a' the Secrets and the Mysteries '11 be mine soon. 
When the end is cOmin' hand baith my hands in ane o' 
yours, an' keep the ither ower my een. Then, when I'm 
passin' ye shall see what my dead eyes see; and hear wi' 
the power o' my dead ears. Mayhap too, laddie, ye may 
ken the secrets and the wishes o' my hairt. Dinna lose 
yer chance, laddie! God be wi' ye an' the bonny lass. 
Tell her, an' ye will, that I forgie her floutin' me; an' 
that I bade the gude God keep her frae all harm, and send 
peace and happiness to ye both till the end. God for- 
gie me all my sins ! " 

As she was speaking her life seemed slowly ebbing 
away. I could feel it, and I knew it in many ways. As 
I took her hand in mine, a glad smile was on her face, 
together with a look of eager curiosity. This was the 
last thing I saw in the dim light, as my hand covered 
her filming eyes. 

And then a strange and terrible thing began to happen. 


AS I knelt with the dead woman's hands in one of 
mine and the other over her eyes, I seemed to 
be floating high up in the air ; and with amazing 
vision to see all round for a great distance. The fog still 
hung thick over the water. Around, the vast of the air and 
the depths of the sea were as open as though sunshine 
was on them and I was merely looking through bright 
water. In the general panorama of things, so far as the 
eye could range, all lay open. The ships on the sea, and 
the floor under it ; the iron-bound coast, and the far-lying 
uplands were all as though marked on a picture chart. 
Far away on the horizon were several craft, small and 
large. A few miles out was a ship of war; and to the 
north of her but much closer in shore lay a graceful 
yacht, slowly moving with the tide and under shortened 
sail. The war ship was all alert ; on every top, and 
wherever there was a chance of seeing anything, was the 
head of a man on the look-out. The search-light was on, 
and sea and sky were lit alternately with its revolving 
rays. But that which drew my eyes, as the magnet draws 
the iron, was a clumsily rigged ship close in shore, seem- 
ingly only a few hundred yards beyond the Dunbuy Rock. 
She was a whaler I knew, for on her deck were the great 
boats for use in rough seas, and the furnace where the 
blubber was melted. With unconscious movement, as 


424 The Mystery of the Sea 

though my soul were winged as a bird, I hung poised over 
this vessel. It was strange indeed, but she seemed all 
as though composed of crystal ; I could see through her, 
and down into the deep below her where her shadow lay, 
till my eyes rested on the patches of bare sand or the 
masses of giant seaweed which swayed with the tide above 
the rocks on which it grew. In and out amongst the sea- 
weed the fishes darted, and the flower-like limpets moved 
ceaselessly outside their shells on the rocks. I could even 
see the streaks on the water which wind and current in- 
variably leave on their course. Within the ship, all was 
clear as though I were looking into a child's toy-house; 
but a toy-house wrought of glass. Every nook and cranny 
was laid bare; and the details, even when they did not 
interest me, sank into my mind. I could evermore, by 
closing my eyes, have seen again anything on which in 
those moments of spiritual vision the eyes of my soul 
had rested. 

All the time there was to me a dual consciousness. 
Whatever I saw before me was all plain and real ; 
and yet I never lost for a moment the sense of my 
own identity. I knew I was on shore amid the rocks 
under the cliff, and that Gormala's dead body was beside 
me as I knelt. But there was some divine guiding princi- 
ple which directed my thought it must have been my 
thought, for my eyes followed as my wishes led, as though 
my whole being went too. They were guided from the 
very bow of the ship along the deck, and down the after 
hatchway. I went down, step by step, making accurate 
and careful scrutiny of all things around me. I passed 
into the narrow cabin, which seemed even to me to smell 
evilly. The rank yellow light from the crude oil lamp 
with thick smoky wick made the gloom seem a reality, and 
the shadows as monstrous. From this I passed aft into 
a tiny cabin, where on a bunk lay Marjory asleep. She 

The Eyes of the Dead 425 

looked pale and wan; it made my heart sick to see the 
great black circles round her eyes. But there was reso- 
lution in her mouth and nostrils ; resolution fixed and un- 
tameable. Knowing her as I did, and with her message 
" I can die " burned into my heart, it did not need any 
guessing to know what was in the hand clenched inside 
the breast of her dress. The cabin door was locked; on 
the outside was a rough bolt, newly placed; the key 
was not in the lock. I would have lingered, for the 
lightning-like glimpse made me hungry for more ; but the 
same compelling force moved me on. In the next cabin 
lay a man, also asleep. He was large of frame, with a 
rugged red beard streaked with grey; what hair re- 
mained on his head, which was all scarred with cicatrices, 
was a dull red turning white. On a rack above him, under 
the chronometer which marked Greenwich time as 
2.15, ready to his hand, were two great seven shooters; 
from his pocket peeped the hilt of a bowie knife. It was 
indeed strange to me that I could look without passion or 
vindictiveness on such a person so disposed. I suppose 
it was the impersonal spirit within me which was at the 
moment receptive, and that all human passion, being ulti- 
mately of the flesh, was latent. At the time, though I was 
conscious of it, it did not strike me as strange; no more 
strange than that I could see far and near at the same 
glance, and take in great space and an impossible wilder- 
ness of detail. No more strange, than that all things were 
for me resolved into their elements; that fog ceased to 
deaden or darkness to hide; that timber and iron, deck 
and panel and partition, beam and door and bulkhead 
were as transparent as glass. In my mind was a vague 
intention of making examination of every detail which 
could bear on the danger of Marjory. But even whilst 
such an idea was in its incipient stage, so swift is the 
mechanism of thought, my eyes beheld, as though it were 

426 The Mystery of the Sea 

through the sides of the ship, a boat pass out from a 
watercave in the cliffs behind the Rock of Dunbuy. In it 
I saw, with the same seeing eye which gave me power in 
aught else, seven men some of whom I knew at a glance 
to be those whom Marjory had described in the tunnel. 
All but one I surveyed calmly, and weighed up as it were 
with complacency; but this one was a huge coal-black 
negro, hideous, and of repulsive aspect. A glimpse of him 
made my blood run cold, and filled my mind at once with 
hate and fear. As I looked, the boat came towards the 
ship with inconceivable rapidity. It was not that she 
moved fast through the water, for her progress was in 
reality slow and laboured. The wind and the sea had 
risen ; half a gale was blowing and the seas were running 
so high that the ship rose and fell, pitched and rolled 
and tossed about like a toy. It was, that time, like dis- 
tance, was in my mind obliterated. Truly, I was looking 
with spirit eyes, and under all spiritual conditions. 

The boat drew close to the whaler on the port side, and 
I saw, as if from the former, the faces of several men 
who at the sound of oars came rushing from the other 
side of the ship and leaned over the bulwarks. It was 
evident that they had expected arrival from the star- 
board. With some difficulty the boat got close, for the 
sea was running wilder every moment; and one by one 
the men began to climb the ladder and disappear over 
the bulwark. With the extraordinary action of sight and 
mind and memory which was to me at present, I followed 
each and all of them at the same time. They hurriedly 
rigged up a whip and began to raise from the boat parcels 
of great weight. In the doing of this one of them, the 
negro, was officious and was always trying to examine 
each parcel as it came on board; but he was ever and 
always repulsed. The others would not allow him to 
touch anything; at each rebuff he retired scowling. All 

The Eyes of the Dead 427 

this must, under ordinary conditions, have taken much 
time, but to my spirit-ruled eyes it all passed with won- 
drous rapidity. . 

I became conscious that things around me were 
growing less clear. The fog seemed to be stealing 
over the sea, as I had seen it earlier in the evening, and 
to wrap up details from my sight. The great expanse of 
the sea and the ships upon it, and all the wonders of the 
deep became lost in the growing darkness. I found, 
quicker and quicker, my thoughts like my eyes, centred 
on the deck of the ship. At a moment, when all others 
were engaged and did not notice him, I saw the great 
negro, his face over-much distorted with an evil smile, 
steal towards the after hatchway and disappear. With 
the growing of the fog and the dark, I was losing the 
power to see through things opaque and material ; and it 
came to me as an actual shock that the negro passed 
beyond my vision. With his going, the fear in my heart 
grew and grew; till, in my frantic human passion, all 
that was ethereal around me faded and went out like a 
dying flame. . . . 

The anguish of my soul, in my fear for my beloved, 
tore my true spirit out of its phantom existence back to 
stern working life. 

I found myself, chilled and sick at heart, kneeling by 
the marble-cold, stiffening body of Gormala, on the lone 
rock under the cliff. The rising wind whistled by me 
in the crannies above, and the rising sea in angry rushes 
leaped at us by the black shining rocks. All was so dark 
around me that my eyes, accustomed to the power given 
in my vision of making their own light, could not pierce 
the fog and the gloom. I tried to look at my watch, but 
could only see the dial dimly ; I could not distinguish the 
figures on it and I feared to light a match lest such might 
betray my presence. Fortunately my watch could strike 

428 The Mystery of the Sea 

the hours and minutes, and I found it was now half past 
one o'clock. I still, therefore, had three-quarters of an 
hour, for I remembered the lesson of the whaler's chro- 
nometer. I knew there would be no time nor opportunity 
to bring Gormala's body to the top of the cliff at present ; 
so I carried her up to the highest point of the underlying 
rock, which was well above high water mark. 

Reverently and with blessing I closed her dead eyes, 
which still looked up at the sky with a sort of ghostly 
curiosity. Then 1 clambered up the steep pathway and 
made my way as quickly as I could round to the other 
side of the Haven, to try if I could discover any trace 
of the blackmailers, or any indication of the water-cave 
in which their boat was hidden. The cliffs here are 
wofully steep, and hang far over the sea ; so that there is 
no possibility of lying on the cliff edge and peering over. 
Round here also the stark steepness forbids the existence 
of even the tiniest track; a hare could not find its way 
along these beetling cliffs. The only way of making 
search of this channel would be to follow round in a boat. 
The nearest point to procure one would be at the little 
harbour beside the Bullers O'Buchan, and for this there 
was not time. I was in dire doubt as to what was best 
to do ; and I longed with a sickening force for the presence 
of Montgomery or some of our party who would know 
how to deal with such a situation. I was not anxious 
for the present moment; but I wanted to take all pre- 
cautions against the time which was coming. Well I 
knew that the vision I had seen with the eyes of the 
dead Gormala was no mere phantasm of the mind ; that 
it was no promise of what might be, but a grim pic- 
ture of what would be. There was never a doubt in my 
mind as to its accuracy. Oh ! if I could have seen more 
of what was to happen ; if I could have lingered but a few 
instants longer! For with the speed at which things had 

The Eyes of the Dead 429 

passed before my inner eye in that strange time, every 
second might have meant the joy or sorrow of a lifetime. 
How I groaned with regret, and cursed my own precipi- 
tancy, that I could not wait and learn through the medium 
of the dead woman's spiritual eyes the truths that were 
to be borne in mind ! 

But it was of no use to fret ; action of some sort would 
be necessary if Marjory was to be saved. In one way I 
might help. Even alone I might save her, if I could get 
out to the whaler unknown to her crew. I knew I could 
manage this, for anyhow I could swim; for a weapon 
which the water could not render useless I had the dagger 
I had taken from Don Bernardino. Should other weapons 
be necessary 1 might be able to lay hands on them in the 
cabin next Marjory's, where the red-bearded man lay 
asleep. I did not know whether it would be better to go 
in search of some of my comrades, or to wait the arrival 
of the Don, who was to be back within an hour of the time 
of leaving. I was still trying to make up my mind when 
the difficulty was settled for me by the arrival of the 
Spaniard, accompanied by one of the young American 
naval officers. 

When I told them of my vision I could see, even in the 
darkness which prevailed, that neither of them was con- 
tent to accept its accuracy in blind faith. I was at first 
impatient; but this wore away when I remembered that 
neither of them had any knowledge of my experiences in 
the way of Second Sight, or indeed of the phenomenon at 
all. Neither in Spain nor America does such a belief pre- 
vail ; and I have no doubt that to both of them came the 
idea that worry and anxiety had turned my brain. Even 
when I told them how I meant to back my belief by swim- 
ming out beyond the Dunbuy Rock in time to reach the 
ship before the boat would arrive, they were not con- 
vinced. The method of reception of the idea by each 

430 The Mystery of the Sea 

was, however, characteristic of his race and nation. To 
the high-bred Spaniard, whose life had been ruled by laws 
of honour and of individual responsibility, no act done in 
the cause of chivalry could be other than worthy ; he did 
not question the sanity of the keeping of such a purpose. 
The practical American, however, though equally willing 
to make self-sacrifice, and to dare all things in the course 
of honour and duty, looked at my intention with regard 
to its result; was I taking the step which would have 
the best result with regard to the girl whom we were all 
trying to save. Whilst the Spaniard raised his hat and 

" May God watch over your gallant enterprise, Senor ; 
and hold your life, and that of her whom you love, in 
the hollow of His hand ! " The American said : 

" Honest injun! old chap, is that the best you can do? 
If it's only a man and a life you want, count me in every 
time. I'm a swimmer, too; and I'm a youngster that 
don't count. So far as that goes, I'm on. But you've got 
to find the ship, you know! If she was there now, I 
should say ' risk it ' ; and I'd come with you if you liked. 
But there's the whole North Sea out there, with room for 
a hundred million of whalers without their jostling. No, 
no ! Come, I say, let us find another way round ; where 
we can help the girl all together ! " He was a good young 
fellow, as well as a fine one, and it was evident he meant 
well. But there was no use arguing ; my mind was made 
up, and, after assuring him that I was in earnest, I told 
him that 1 was taking a couple of rockets with me which 
I would try to keep dry so that should occasion serve I 
would make manifest the whereabouts of the whaler. He 
already knew what to do with regard to signalling from 
shore, in case the boats of the whaler should be seen. 

When we had made what preparations we could for 
the work each of us had in hand, the time came for my 

The Eyes of the Dead 431 

starting on my perilous enterprise. As my purpose be- 
came more definite, my companions, who I think doubted 
in their hearts its sincerity, became somewhat more de- 
monstrative. It was one thing to have a vague intention 
of setting out on a wild journey of the kind, and even here 
common sense rebelled. But on the edge of the high 
cliff, in the dark, amid the fog which came boiling up from 
below as the wind puffs drove it on shore; when below 
our feet the rising waves broke against the rocks with an 
ominous sound, made into a roar by the broken fastnesses 
of the cliffs, the whole thing must have seemed as an 
act of madness. When through a break in the fog-belt 
we could catch a glimpse of the dark water leaping far 
below into furious, scattering lines of foam, to dare the 
terrors of such a sea at such a time was like going delib- 
erately to certain death. My own heart quailed at mo- 
ments ; when I saw through the fog wreaths the narrow 
track, down which I must again descend to where Gor- 
mala's body lay, fading into a horrid gloom ; or when the 
sound of breaking water drove up, muffled by the dark 
mist. My faith in the vision was strong, however, and 
by keeping my mind fixed on it I could shut out present 
terrors. I shook hands with my two friends, and, taking 
courage from the strong grip of their hands, set myself 
resolutely to my journey down the cliff. The last words 
the young navy man said to me were: 

" Remember, if you do reach the whaler, that a 
gleam of light of any kind will give us a hint of where 
you are. Once the men of the Keystone see it, they'll 
do the rest at sea; as we shall on land. Give us such a 
light when the time comes if you have to fire the ship 
to get it ! " 

At the foot of the cliff path the prospect was almost 
terrifying. The rocks were so washed with the churning 
water, as the waves leaped at them, that now and again 

43 2 The Mystery of the Sea 

only black tops could be seen rising out of the waste of 
white water; and a moment after, as the wave fell back, 
there would be a great mass of jagged rocks, all stark and 
grim, blacker than their own blackness, with the water 
streaming down them, and great rifts yawning between. 
Outside, the sea was a grim terror, a wildness of rising 
waves and lines of foam, all shrouded in fog and gloom. 
Through all came a myriad of disconcerting sounds, 
vague and fearsome, from where the waves clashed or 
beat into the sounding caverns of Dunbuy. Nothing but 
the faith which I had in the vision of Marjory, which 
came to me with the dead eyes of the western Seer, could 
have carried me out into that dreadful gloom. All its 
possibilities of horror and danger woke to me at once, 
and for a moment appalled me. 

But Faith is a conquering power; even the habit of 
believing, in which I had been taught, stood to me in this 
wild hour. No sceptic, no doubter, could have gone 
forth as I did into that unknown of gloom and fear. 

I waited till a great wave was swept in close under my 
bare feet. Then, with a silent prayer, and an embold- 
ening thought: ' For Marjory! ' I leaped into the coming 


FOR a few minutes I was engaged in a wild strug- 
gle to get away from the rocks, and not to be 
forced back by the shoreward rush and sweep of 
the waves. I was buffeted by them, and half-choked by 
the boiling foam; but I kept blindly and desperately to 
my task, and presently knew that I had only to deal with 
the current and the natural rise and fall of the rollers. 
Down on the water the air was full of noises, so that it 
was hard to distinguish any individual sound; but the 
fog lay less dense on the surface than above it, so that I 
could see a little better around me. 

On the sea there is always more or less light; even 
in this time of midnight gloom, with moon and stars 
hidden by the fog, and with none of that phosphorescence 
which at times makes a luminous glow of its own over 
the water, I could see things at an unexpected distance. 
More than all, was I surprised as well as cheered to find 
that I could distinguish the features of the land from the 
sea, better than I could from land discern anything at sea. 
When I looked back, the shore rose, a dark uneven line, 
unbroken save where the Haven of Dunbuy running in- 
land made an angle against the sky. But beside me, the 
great Rock of Dunbuy rose gigantic and black ; it was like 
a mountain towering over me. The tide was running down 
so that when I had got out of the current running inland 
behind the rock I was in comparatively calm water. 

433 28 

434 The Mystery of the Sea 

There was no downward current, but only a slow back- 
water, which insensibly took me closer to the Rock. Keep- 
ing in this shelter, I swam on and out ; I saved myself as 
much as I could, for I knew of the terrible demand on my 
strength which lay before me. It must have been about 
ten minutes, though it seemed infinitely longer, when I 
began to emerge from the shelter of the Rock and to find 
again the force of the outer current. The waves were 
wilder here too; not so wild as just in shore before they 
broke, but they were considerably larger in their rise and 
fall. As I swam on, I looked back now and then, and saw 
Dunbuy behind me towering upward, though not so 
monstrously as when I had been under its lee. The 
current was beginning already to bear me downwards ; so 
I changed my course, and got back to the sheltered water 
again. Thus I crept round under the lee of the Rock, 
till all at once I found myself in the angry race, where 
the current beat on and off the cliff. It took me all my 
strength and care to swim through this; when the force 
of the current began to slacken, as I emerged from the 
race, I found myself panting and breathless with the 

But when I looked around me from this point, where 
the east opened to me, there was something which re- 
stored all my courage and hope, though it did not still 
the beating of my heart. 

Close by, seemingly only a couple of hundred yards off 
to the north east, lay a ship whose masts and spars 
stood out against the sky. I could see her clearly, before 
a coming belt of fog bore down on her. 

The apprehension lest I should miss her in the fog 
chilled me more than the sea water in which I was im- 
mersed; for all possibilities of evil became fears to me, 
now that the realisation of my vision was clear. I was 
glad of the darkness ; it was a guarantee against discov- 

.In the Sea Fog 435 

ery.' I swam on quietly, and was rejoiced to find as I 
drew close that I was on the port side of the ship ; well I 
remembered how in my vision the boat approached to 
port, to the surprise of the men who were looking out 
for it on the other side. I found the rope ladder easily 
enough, and did not have much difficulty in getting a 
foothold on it. Ascending cautiously, and watching every 
inch of the way, I climbed the bulwark and hid behind a 
water barrel close to the mast. From this security I 
looked out, and saw the backs of several men ranged 
along the starboard bulwark. They were intent on their 
watching, and unsuspicious of my proximity; so I stole 
out and glided as silently as I could into the cabin's en- 
trance. It was not new to me ; I had a sense of complete 
security as to my knowledge. The eyes of Gormala's soul 
were keen! 

In the cabin I recognised at once the smoky lamp and 
the rude preparations for food. Thus emboldened, I 
came to the door, behind which I knew Marjory lay. It 
was locked and bolted, and the key was gone. I slid back 
the bolt, but the lock baffled me. I was afraid to make 
the slightest noise, lest I should court discovery; so I 
passed on to the next cabin where was her jailer. He lay 
just as, in the vision, I had seen him ; the chronometer was 
above him and the two heavy revolvers hung underneath 
it. I slipped in quietly there were not shoes to remove 
and reaching over so that the water would not drip from 
my wet underclothing on his face, unhooked the two 
weapons. I belted them round my waist with the strap 
on which they hung. Then I looked round for the key, 
but could see no sign of it. There was no time to lose, 
and it was neither time nor place to stand on ceremony; 
so I took the man by the throat with my left hand, the 
dagger being in my right, and held with such a grip that 
the blood seemed to leap into his face in a second. He 

436 The Mystery of the Sea 

could utter no sound, but instinctively his hand went 
back and up to where the revolvers had hung. I whis- 
pered in a low tone: 

" It's no use. Give me the key. I don't value your life 
a pin ! " He was well plucked, and he was manifestly 
used to tight places. He did not attempt to speak or 
parley ; but whilst I had been whispering, his right hand 
had got hold of a knife. It was a bowie, and he was dex- 
terous with it. With some kind of sharp wrench he threw 
it open; there was a click as the back-spring worked. 
If I had not had my dagger ready it would have been a 
bad time for me. But I was prepared; whilst he was 
making the movement to strike at me, I struck. The 
keen point of the Spanish dagger went right through 
the upturned wrist, and pinned his hand down to the 
wooden edge of the bunk. Whilst, however, he had been 
trying to strike with his right hand, his left had clutched 
my left wrist. He tried now to loose my grasp from his 
throat, whilst bending his chin down he made a furious 
effort to tear at my hand with his teeth. Never in my life 
did I more need my strength and weight. The man was 
manifestly a fighter, trained in many a wild ' rough-and- 
tumble ', and his nerves were like iron. I feared to let 
go the hilt of the dagger, lest in his violent struggling he 
should tear his wrist away and so free his hand. Having, 
however, got my right knee raised, I pressed down with it 
his arm on the edge of the bunk and so freed my right 
hand. He continued to struggle ferociously. I knew well 
it was life and death, not only for me, but for Marjory. 

It was his life or mine ; and he had to pay the penalty 
of his crime. 

So intent was I on the struggle that I had not heard the 
approach of the boat with his comrades. It was only 
when I stood panting, with the limp throat between my 
fingers which were white at the knuckles with the strain, 

In the Sea Fog 437 

that the sound of voices and the tramp of feet on deck 
reached my intelligence. Then indeed I knew there was 
no time to lose. I searched the dead man's pockets and 
found a key, which I tried in the lock of Marjory's cabin. 
When I opened the door she started up; the hand in her 
bosom was whipped out with a flash, and in an instant a 
long steel bonnet pin was ready to drive into her breast. 
My agonised whisper: 

" Marjory, it is I ! " only reached her mind in time 
to hold her hand. She did not speak ; but never can I for- 
get the look of joy that illumined her poor, pale face. I 
put my finger on my lip, and held out my hand to her. 
She rose, with the obedience of a child, and came with me. 
I was just going out into the cabin, when I heard the 
creak of a heavy footstep on the companion way. So I 
motioned her back, and, drawing the dagger from my 
belt, stood ready. I knew who it was that was coming; 
yet I dared not use the pistols, save as a last resource. 

I stood behind the door. The negro did not expect any- 
one, or any obstacle; he came on unthinkingly, save for 
whatever purpose of evil was in his mind. He was 
armed, as were all the members of the blackmail gang. 
In a belt across his shoulder, slung Kentucky fashion, 
were two great seven shooters; and across his waist 
behind was a great bowie knife, with handle ready to 
grasp. Moreover, nigger-like, the handle of a razor rose 
out of the breast pocket of his dark flannel shirt. He 
did not, however, manifestly purpose using his weapons 
at present at any rate ; there was not any sign of danger 
or opposition in front of him. His comrades were busy 
at present in embarking the treasure, and would be for 
many an hour to come, in helping to work the ship clear 
into safety. Every minute now the wind was rising, and 
the waves swelling to such proportions that the anchored 
ship rocked like a bell-buoy in a storm. In the cabin I 

438 The Mystery of the Sea 

had to hold on, or I should have been shot from my place 
into view. But the huge negro cared for none of these 
things. He was callous to everything, and there was 
such a wicked, devilish purpose in his look that my heart 
hardened grimly in the antagonism of man to man. Nay 
more, it was not a man that I loathed ; I would have killed 
this beast with less compunction than I would kill a rat or 
a snake. Never in my life did I behold such a wicked 
face. In feature and expression there was every trace 
and potentiality of evil; and these superimposed on a 
racial brutality which made my gorge rise. Well indeed 
did I understand now the one terror which had in all her 
troubles come to Marjory, and how these wretches had 
used it to mould her to their ends. I knew now why, 
sleeping or waking, she held that steel spike against her 
heart. If 

The thought was too much for me. Even now, though 
I was beside her, she was beset by her enemies. We were 
both still practically prisoners on a hostile ship, and even 
now this demon was intent on unspeakable wrong. I did 
not pause; I did not shrink from the terrible task before 
me. With a bound I was upon him, and I had struck at 
his heart ; struck so truly and so terrible a blow, that the 
hilt of the dagger struck his ribs with a thud like the 
blow of a cudgel. The blood seemed to leap out at me, 
even as the blow fell. With spasmodic reaction he tum- 
bled forwards; fell without a sound, and so quickly that 
had not I, fearing lest the noise of his falling might 
betray me, caught him, he would have dropped like a 
stricken bullock. 

Never before did I understand the pleasure of killing a 
man. Since then, it makes me shudder when I think of 
how so potent a passion, or so keen a pleasure, can rest 
latent in the heart of a righteous man. It may have been 
that between the man and myself was all the antagonism 

In the Sea Fog 439 

that came from race, and fear, and wrongdoing; but the 
act of his killing was to me a joy unspeakable. It will 
rest with me as a wild pleasure till 1 die. 

I took all the arms he had about him, two revolvers and 
a knife ; they would give me fourteen more shots were I 
hard pressed. In any case they were safer, so far as 
Marjory and I were concerned, in my hands than in those 
of our enemies. I dragged the body of the negro into 
the cabin with the other dead man ; then I closed the door 
on them, and when Marjory joined me, I locked the door 
of her cabin and took away the key. In case of suspicion 
this might give us a few minutes of extra time. 

Marjory came with me up on deck; and as she caught 
sight of the open sea there was an unspeakable gladness 
on her face. We seized a favourable opportunity, when 
no one was looking, for all on deck were busy hauling 
up the treasure ; and slipped behind the cask fastened to 
the mast. There we breathed freely. We both felt that 
should the worst come to the worst we could get away 
before any one could touch us. One rush to the bulwarks 
and over. They would never attempt to follow us, and 
there was a chance of a swim to shore. I gave Marjory 
a belt with two revolvers. As she strapped it on she felt 
safer; I knew it by the way she drew herself up, and 
threw back her shoulders. 

When the last of the bags which held the treasure 
came on board, the men who had come with it closed in 
a ring around the mass as it lay on deck. They were all 
armed ; I could see that they did not trust the sailors, for 
each moment some one's hand would go back to his gun. 
We heard one of them ask as he looked round : " What 
has become of that damned nigger? He must take his 
share of work ! " Marjory was very brave and very 
still ; I could see that her nerve was coming back to her. 
After a little whispered conversation, the newcomers 

44 The Mystery of the Sea 

began to carry the bags down to the cabin; it was slow 
work, for two always stood guard above, and two re- 
mained down below evidently on similar duty. Dis- 
covery of the dead man must come soon, so Marjory and 
I stole behind the foremast which was well away 
from every one. She was first, and as she began to pass 
behind she recoiled; she got the drop on some one in 
front of her. There was a smothered ' h-s-s-sh ' and she 
lowered her weapon. Turning to me she said in a faint 
whisper : 

" It is the Spaniard ; what is he doing here ? " I whis- 
pered back: 

" Be good to him. He is a noble fellow, and has be- 
haved like a knight of old ! " I pressed forward and took 
his hand. " How did you get here ? " I asked. His an- 
swer was given in so faint a voice that I could see that 
he was spent and tired, if not injured: 

" I swam, too. When I saw their boat pull out of the 
northern channel, I managed to scramble down part of 
the cliff, and then jumped. Fortunately I was not in- 
jured. It was a long, weary swim, and I thought I should 
never be able to get through ; but at last the current took 
me and carried me to the ship. She was anchored with a 
hawser, not a cable. I managed to climb up it ; and when 
I was on board I cut it nearly through." 

Even as he spoke there was a queer lurch of the ship 
which lay stern forward, and a smothered ejaculation 
from all the seamen. 

. The hawser had parted and we were drifting before 
wind and tide. Then it was that I felt we should give 
warning to the yacht and the battleship. I knew that they 
were not far off ; had I not seen them in my vision, which 
had now been proven. Then it was also that the words 
of the young American came back to me : " Give us a 
light, if you have to fire the ship to get it." 

In the Sea Fog 441 

All this time, from the moment when I had set foot on 
the whaler's deck till this instant, events had moved with 
inconceivable rapidity. There had been one silent, breath- 
less rush; during which two lives had been taken and 
Marjory set free. Only a few minutes had elapsed in 
all; and when I looked around under the altered condi- 
tions, things seemed to be almost where they had been. 
It was like the picture in one's mind made by a lightning 
flash; when the period of reception is less than the time 
of the smallest action, and movement is lost in time. The 
fog belt was thinning out, and there was in the night 
air a faint suggestion that one might see, if there were 
anything to be seen. 

The great Rock of Dunbuy towered up; I could just 
distinguish so much on the land side. Whilst I was look- 
ing, there came a sudden light and then a whirr; high 
overhead through the sea fog we could see faintly the 
fiery trail of a rocket. 

Instantly out at sea was an answer ; a great ray of light 
shot upwards, and we could see its reflection in the sky. 
None of us said anything; but instinctively Marjory and 
I clasped hands. Then the light ray seemed to fall down- 
ward to the sea. But as it came down, the fog seemed 
to grow thicker and thicker till the light was lost in its 
density. There was stir of all on our ship. No loud word 
was spoken, but whispered directions, given with smoth- 
ered curses, flew. Each man of the crew seemed to run 
to his post, and with a screeching and straining the sails 
rose. The vessel began to slip through the water with 
added speed. Now, if ever, was our time to warn our 
friends. The little rockets which I had brought had been 
sodden with water and were useless, and besides we had 
no way of getting a light. The only way of warning was 
by sound, and the only sound to carry was a pistol shot. 
For an instant I hesitated, for a shot meant a life if we 

442 The Mystery of the Sea 

should be pushed to it. But it must be done ; so signing 
to the others I ran aft and when close to the mast fired my 
revolver. Instantly around me was a chorus of curses. 
I bent double and ran back, seeing through the darkness 
vague forms rush to where I had been. The fog was 
closing thicker around us ; it seemed to boil over the bul- 
warks as we passed along. We had either passed into 
another belt of fog, or one was closing down upon us 
with the wind. The sound of the pistol shot had evi- 
dently reached the war ship. She was far off us, and the 
sounds came faintly over the waste of stormy sea; but 
there was no mistaking the cheer followed by commands. 
These sounded faint and hoarsely; a few words were 
spoken with a trumpet, and then came the shrill whistle of 
the boatswain's pipe. 

On our own deck was rushing to and fro, and frenzied 
labour everywhere. The first object was to get away 
from the searchlight ; they would seek presently, no doubt, 
for who had fired the betraying shot. If I could have 
known what to do, so as to stay our progress, there 
would have been other shots ; for now that we were mov- 
ing through the water, every second might take us fur- 
ther from the shore and place us deeper in the toils of our 


1 WHISPERED to Marjory and Don Bernardino: 
" If they once get away we are lost ! We must 
stop them at all hazards ! " The Spaniard nodded 
and Marjory squeezed my hands; there was no need of 
speech. Then I fixed the order of battle. I was to fire 
first, then the Spaniard, then Marjory, each saving his 
fire till we knew whether another shot was required. 
This precaution was necessary, as we had no reserve 
ammunition. We took it for granted that the chambers 
of the revolvers were full ; my one shot had been satisfac- 
tory in this respect. When the sails were set and we be- 
gan rushing through the water I saw that even at the risk 
of betraying ourselves to our enemies we must give 
warning again, and so fired. There was an answering 
cheer from the Keystone through the fog; and then a 
sudden rush forward of those on our own deck. When 
they were close to us, the seamen hung back ; but the men 
of the gang kept on firing as they came. Fortunately we 
were in a line behind cover, for I could hear the ' ping ' 
and the tearing wood as the bullets struck the mast. I 
fired a shot just to show that we were armed ; and heard 
a sharp cry. Then they fell back. In a moment or two 
they also had formed their plan of battle. These were 
men used to such encounters; and as they knew that at 
such times a quick rush may mean everything, they did 
not let the grass grow under their feet. I could see 


444 The Mystery of the Sea 

one of the seamen remonstrating with them, and hear 
the quick, angry tones of his voice, though I could not 
distinguish the words. 

He pointed out into the fog, where now there was dis- 
tinctly a luminous patch of light: the searchlight was 
moving towards us. The Keystone was coming down on 

The blackmailer shook off the seaman and then gave 
some directions to his comrades; they spread out right 
and left of us, and tried to find some kind of cover. I 
lifted Marjory and put her standing on the barrel fast- 
ened behind the mast, for I thought that as the flash of 
my pistol had come from the deck they would not expect 
any one to be raised so high. Don Bernardino and I 
curled down on the deck, and our opponents began to fire. 
In the thickening fog, and with the motion of the ship 
which threw us all about like ninepins, their aim was 
vague; fortunately no one was hit. When I thought I 
had a chance I fired, but there was no response ; the Don 
got a shot and Marjory another, but there was no sound, 
save that of the bullets striking on wood or iron. Then 
Marjory, whose traditional instinct was coming into play, 
fired twice in rapid succession; there was a quick excla- 
mation and then a flood of horrible profanity, the man 
was only winged. Again and again they fired, and I 
heard a groan behind me from the Don. 

" What's that ? " I whispered, not daring to stop or 
even to look back : r 

" My arm ! Take my pistol, I cannot shoot with my 
left hand." I put my hand back, and he placed the 
revolver in it. I saw a dark form rush across the deck 
and fired and missed. I tried another shot; but the 
weapon only answered with a click; the chambers were 
exhausted. So I used the other revolver. And so for a 
few minutes a furious fight went on. Marjory seldom 

The Skares 445 

fired, she was holding herself in reserve; but before I 
knew what was happening my second revolver was empty. 
Our antagonists were no chickens at their work; there 
was little to teach any of them in such a method of con- 
test as this. Some one had evidently been counting the 
shots, for he suddenly called out : 

" Not yet boys ! They've at least three shots still ! " 
With a sudden simultaneous rush they ran back into shelter. 

During this time we had been tearing through the 
water at our full speed. But behind us on the port quarter 
was the sound of a great ship steaming on. The roar of 
the furnaces could be heard in the trumpeting of the 
funnels. The boatswain's whistles were piping, and there 
were voices of command cutting hoarsely through the 
fog. The searchlight too was at work; we could see its 
rays high up on the mist, though they did not at the 
moment penetrate sufficiently to expose us to the lookout 
of the Keystone. Closer on our starboard quarter was 
another sound which came on the trailing wind, the rush 
of a small vessel running fast. We could hear down the 
wind the sharp ' slap slap ' of the waves on the bows, 
and the roaring of the wind among the cordage. This 
must be the Sporran following us close with grim disre- 
gard of danger. The commander of the whaler, recog- 
nising the possibility of discovery, put his helm hard to 
starboard. I could myself not see through the darkness ; 
but the seaman did and took his chance of grounding in 
Cruden Bay. When we had run in a little way the helm 
was jammed hard down again, and we ran on the other 
tack ; for the moment we were lost to both the war ship 
and the yacht. Marjory looked at me appealingly and I 
nodded; the situation was not one to be risked. She 
fired another shot from her pistol. There was an imme- 
diate reply from far out on our port side in the shape 
of more directions spoken with the trumpet and answer- 

446 The Mystery of the Sea 

ing piping from the boatswains. Several shots were fired 
towards us by the gang ; they were manifestly on chance, 
for they went wildly wide of us. Then we could hear an 
angry remonstrance from the whaler captain, and a threat 
that if there were any more firing, he would down with 
his sails and take chance of being captured. One of the 
gang answered him: 

" That packet can't capture you within the three-mile 
limit ; it's a cruiser of Uncle Sam's and they won't risk 
having to lie up in harbour here till the war is over." To 
which the other surlily replied: 

" I wouldn't put money on it. Anyhow someone will ! 
You keep quiet if you can. There's enough against us 
already if we should be caught ! " The reply of the 
blackmailer was at least practical. I could not see what 
he did, but I took it that he put his pistol to the captain's 
head as he said with a frightful oath: 

" You'll go on as you arranged with me ; or I'll blow 
your brains out where you stand. There's quite enough 
against any of us, you included ; so your one chance any- 
how is to get out of this hole. See ? " The captain ac- 
cepted the position and gave his orders with a quiet 
delivery, to the effect that we ran first shorewards and 
then to starboard again till we were running back on our 
tracks like a hare. 

Suddenly, however, this course was brought to an end 
by our almost running into a small vessel which as we 
passed I could see by its trim appearance was a yacht. 
We were so close for a few seconds, whilst we ran across 
her stern, that I shouted out: 

" All right, MacRae. All safe as yet. She's trying to 
run out to sea. Try to tell the Keystone." The answer 
was a cheer from all aboard. 

As our ship swept into the fog, several of our enemies 
ran at us. I handed Don Bernardino his own dagger 

The Skares 44/7 

and took the bowie knife myself. Then we stood ready in 
case our foes should get to close quarters. They got 
nearly up to us, firing as they came; but we were just 
then sheltering behind the mast and no injury was done. 
They hesitated to come on, not seeing us ; and we waited. 
As we stood with beating hearts the ship began to come 
to starboard again. We must have been sheltered in 
some way, for we did not seem to feel either wind or 
tide so much as before. Suddenly one of the seamen said : 

" Whist ! I hear breakers ! " The rest paused and 
listened, and the captain called out : 

" Hard to starboard ; we are running on shore ! " The 
ship answered at once, and we began to run across the 
wind, feeling the tide at the same time. But as we went, 
a searchlight flashed on the fog before us. We could not 
stop or change quick enough to quite avoid the ship from 
which it came, but the helm was put hard to starboard 
again and we ran close along side a great war ship. I 
could see her tower with protruding cannon as we ran 
by. A voice came through a speaking trumpet, and I 
could just catch the first words as the vessel swept by us : 

" Rocks ahead ! " The instinct of the seaman spoke, 
even at such a time, to keep another vessel from harm. 
The answer from our vessel was a volley of curses. Then 
the searchlight swept our deck, and we could see all our 
enemies. They were round us in a great ring and closing 
in upon us. They saw us, too, and with a shout began to 
run in. I took Marjory by the waist and ran with her to 
the bow of the ship ; I flung her up on the bulwark and 
jumped up beside her. Don Bernardino joined us in a 
moment, and we saw the searchlight as it passed us and 
pierced into the fog ahead. Already the bulk of the bat- 
tleship was almost lost in the mist ; there was only a faint 
indication of her presence in a monstrous mass behind 
the searchlight, and the end of a spar rising above the fog. 

448 The Mystery of the Sea 

In front of us there was a great roaring of water and that 
sharp rushing sound which comes from the back sweep 
of a broken wave. Our skipper saw the danger, and in a 
voice like a trumpet gave his orders. 

But it was too late to do anything. As the searchlight 
again swept our deck, I saw the ring of men break up 
and scatter; almost at the same moment the rays pass- 
ing beyond us, fell on a low rock rising from the sea 
up whose sides great waves were dashing. We were 
rushing to it, borne by wind and tide in a terrible haste. 

At that instant we struck a rock below the water. With 
the shock we three were thrown forward into the sea. I 
heard a despairing shout behind us; and then the water 
closed over my head. 

When I rose it was in a wild agony of fear for Marjory. 
She had been sitting to my left on the bulwark and must 
therefore have fallen to seaward of me. I raised myself 
as well as I could and looked around ; and, by God's grace, 
saw two hands rising above the water a few yards from 
me. With all my might I struggled towards them, and 
was able to drag my wife up to the surface. When I had 
her with me, though my terror and anxiety increased, I 
could think. At such moments the mind acts with light- 
ning speed, and in a second or two I came to the conclu- 
sion that the rock we had struck must be amongst the 
Skares. If so, the only chance was to edge in with the 
tide and try to avoid striking any of the underlying rocks 
which I knew well were so deadly. Had not I seen 
Lauchlane Macleod come to his death through them. 

It was a desperate struggle before us. The tide was 
racing amongst the rocks, and even were there no waves 
it would have been a difficult task to have won through it 
into shore. For myself I was a strong enough swimmer 
to have found my way in, even if I had had to round the 
outer rock and keep up to the harbour of Whinnyfold. 

The Skares 449 

But with Marjory to care for, too Marjory who had 
only lately learned to swim. . . . The prospect was 
indeed a terrible one. We must not lose a chance, and so 
I made my wife loose her skirts which fell away in the 
drag of the water; she could then swim more freely 
and to the best of her power. 

The wind beat fiercely, and the tops of the breaking 
waves nearly choked us as they flew. There was just 
light enough down on the water level to see rocks a few 
yards ahead; the line of the shore rose like one dim 
opaque mass. In the darkness and the stress of the tide 
race there was little I could do, save keep Marjory's head 
and my own above the water and let the current bear us 
on. I must avoid the rocks as well as I could, and let all 
my efforts tend to bring us shorewards. There was not 
time for fears or doubting, or hoping; the moments must 
pass and the struggle be made, never-ending though it 
seemed to be. 

After a few minutes I began to tire ; the strain of the 
last few days and my late effort in reaching the whaler 
had begun to tell on me. I had now and again a passing 
thought of Don Bernardino and the friends who had 
been helping us; but they were all far off. The Span- 
iard I should probably never seen again ; the others might 
never see us. ... I was relapsing into the lethargy 
of despair. 

With a violent effort I woke to the task before me, 
and kept sternly on my way. Marjory was striving her 
utmost; but her strength was failing. Her weight was 
becoming deader. . . . That nerved me to further 
effort, and I swam on so frantically that I drew closer to 
the mainland. Here there was shelter of a kind; the 
waves broken by the outer rocks were less forceful. The 
crested tops which the wind had driven on us were weak- 
ening also. There was hope in this and it kept me up. 


450 The Mystery of the Sea 

On I fought on on on. Oh! would the struggle 
never end! I shut my teeth, and forged on fiercely. I 
could feel that we were going with the rush of the waves 
through a gully between sunken rocks. 

Joy ! there was shore beneath my feet, rough pebbles 
which rolled and worked against each other. The wave 
pulled us back. But my heart was renewed again. I 
made one more frantic effort, and swam closer to the 
land. Then as I saw the wave began to recoil I put 
down my feet, and with the last of my strength lifting 
Marjory in my arms I fought fiercely with the retreating 
wave. Staggering over the screaming pebbles, exhausted 
to the point of death, I bore her high up on the beach and 
laid her down. Then I sank lifeless beside her cold body. 

The last thing I remember was the faint light of the 
coming dawn, falling on her marble-white face as she lay 
on the shore. 


IT could not have been more than a few minutes 
before I recovered consciousness, if indeed I were 
ever absolutely unconscious. It was rather the in- 
evitable yielding to a strain on nerve and muscle and 
brain, than a time of oblivion. I think that I always 
knew that I was by the sea, and that Marjory was beside 
me and in trouble; but that was all. I was in the night- 
mare stage, when one can understand danger and realise 
terror ; and when the only thing impossible to one is to do 
anything. Certainly, when I came to myself I was fully 
conscious of my surroundings. I was even surprised 
that I did not see on Marjory's pale face, the cold faint 
gleam of light which had been there when last I saw her. 
The general light had, however, increased. The strand 
and the rocks looked now not black, but inexpressibly 
drear in the uniform grey which seemed to make all colour 
and shape and distance into one sad flat screen. My 
first work was of course to attend Marjory. For a while 
I feared that she was dead, so white was she amid the 
surrounding grey. But her heart still beat, and her breast 
moved, though very slightly, with her breathing. I could 
now see that we were in Broad Haven and, so, close to 
my own home. I could see through the pierced rock 
called the " Puir Mon." I took my wife in my arms and 
carried her, though with infinite difficulty for I was sorely 
exhausted, up the steep path, and brought her into the 


452 The Mystery of the Sea 

house. I had to break the door in again, but there was 
no one to help me or to interfere in the matter. I got 
some brandy and poured a few drops into her mouth, and 
laid her in a pile of rugs whilst I lit the fire. The supply 
of whin bushes in the wood house was not exhausted, 
and very soon there was a roaring fire. When Marjory 
opened her eyes and looked around the room, a certain 
amount of consciousness came to her. She imagined the 
occasion of her being with me was the same as when we 
had escaped from the flooded cave ; holding out her arms 
she said to me with infinite love and sweetness : 

" Thank God, dear, you are safe ! " A moment later 
she rubbed her eyes and sat up, looking wildly around as 
one does after a hideous dream. In her survey, however, 
her eyes lit on her own figure, and a real wave of shame 
swept over her; she hastily pulled the rug round her 
shoulders and sank back. The habit of personal decorum 
had conquered fear. She closed her eyes for a moment 
or two to remember, and when she opened them was in 
full possession of all her faculties and her memory. 

" It was no dream ! It is all, all real ! And I owe my 
life to you, darling, once again ! " I kissed her, and she 
sank back with a sigh of happiness. A moment later, 
however, she started up, crying out to me : 

" But the others, where are they ? Quick ! quick ! let 
us go to help them if we can ! " She looked wildly round. 
I understood her wishes, and hurrying into the other 
room brought her an armful of her clothes. 

In a few minutes she joined me ; and hand in hand we 
went out on the edge of the cliff. As we went, I told 
her of what had happened since she became unconscious 
in the water. 

The wind was now blowing fiercely, almost a gale. 
The sea had risen, till great waves driving amongst 
the rocks had thrashed the whole region of the Skares 

From the Deep 453 

into a wild field of foam. Below us, the waves dashing 
over the sunken rocks broke on the shore with a loud 
roaring, and washed high above the place where we had 
lain. The fog had lifted, and objects could be seen even 
at a distance. Far out, some miles away, lay a great ship ; 
and by the outermost of the Skares a little to the north 
of the great rock and where the sunken reef lies, rose 
part of a broken mast. But there was nothing else to 
be seen, except away to south a yacht tossing about 
under double-reefed sails. Sea and sky were of a leaden 
grey, and the heavy clouds that drifted before the gale 
came so low as to make us think that they were the fog 
belts risen from the sea. 

Marjory would not be contented till we had roused the 
whole village of Whinnyfold, and with them had gone all 
round the cliffs and looked into every little opening to 
see if there were trace or sign of any of those who had 
been wrecked with us. But it was all in vain. 

We sent a mounted messenger off to Crom with a note, 
for we knew in what terrible anxiety Mrs. Jack must be. 
In an incredibly short time the good lady was with us; 
and was rocking Marjory in her arms, crying and laugh- 
ing over her wildly. By and bye she got round the car- 
riage from the village and said to us : 

" And now my dears, I suppose we had better get back 
to Crom, where you can rest yourselves after this terrible 
time." Marjory came over to me, and holding my arm 
looked at her old nurse lovingly as she said with deep 
earnestness : 

" You had better go back, dear, and get things ready 
for us. As for me, I shall never willingly leave my hus- 
band's side again ! " 

The storm continued for a whole day, growing rougher 
and wilder with each hour. For another day it grew less 

454 The Mystery of the Sea 

and less, till finally the wind had died away and only the 
rough waves spoke of what had been. Then the sea 
began to give up its dead. Some seamen presumably 
those of the Wilhelmina were found along the coast be- 
tween Whinnyfold and Old Slains, and the bodies of two 
of the blackmailers, terribly mangled, were washed ashore 
at Cruden Bay. The rest of the sailors and of the despera- 
does were never found. Whether they escaped by some 
miracle, or were swallowed in the sea, will probably never 
be known. 

Strangest of all was the finding of Don Bernardino. 
The body of the gallant Spanish gentleman was found 
washed up on shore behind the Lord Nelson rock, just 
opposite where had been the opening to the cave in which 
his noble ancestor had hidden the Pope's treasure. It 
was as though the sea itself had respected his devotion, 
and had laid him by the place of his Trust. Marjory and 
I saw his body brought home to Spain when the war was 
over, and laid amongst the tombs of his ancestors. We 
petitioned the Crown; and though no actual leave was 
given, no objection was made to our removing the golden 
figure of San Cristobal which Benvenuto had wrought for 
the Pope. It now stands over the Spaniard's tomb in the 
church of San Cristobal in far Castile. 




44 "TN the First Edition of his work " The Two Bookes 
of Francis Bacon, of the proficience and advance- 
ment of Learning, divine and humane " pub- 
lished at London in 1605, the Author only alludes briefly 
to his Bi-literal Cipher. Speaking of Ciphers generally 
(Booke II) he says: 

" But the vertues of them, whereby they are to be pre- 
" f erred, are three ; that they be not laborious to write 
" and reade ; that they bee impossible to discypher ; and in 
" some cases, that they bee without suspicion. The high- 
" est Degree whereof, is to write OMNIA PER OMNIA ; 
" which is undoubtedly possible, with a proportion Quin- 
" tuple at most, of the writing infoulding, to the writing 
" infoulded, and no other restrainte whatsoever." 

It was not till eighteen years later that he gave to the 
public an explanation of this ' infoulding ' writing. In 
the rarely beautiful edition of the work in Latin printed 
in London by Haviland in 1623, the passage relating to 
secret writing is much amplified. Indeed the entire work 
is completed in many ways and greatly enlarged as is 
shown by its title. 

" De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum. Libros IX." 

The following is his revised statement: 

" Ut vero suspicio omnis absit, aliud Juventum 
" subijciemus, quod certe, cum Adolescentuli essemus 
" Parisiis, excogitavimus ; nee etiam adhuc visa vobis res 
" digna est, quae pereat. Habet enim gradum Ciphrae 
" altissimum ; nimirum ut Omnia per Omnia significari 
" possint : ita tamen, ut Scriptis quae involuitut, quintuple 
" minor sit, quam ea cui involvatur : Alia nulla omnino 



" requiritur Conditio, aut Restrictio. Id hoc modo fiet. 
" Primo, universae literae Alphabet! in duas tantummodo 
" Literas soluantur, per Transpositionem earum. Nam 
" Transpositis duarum Literarum, per Locos quinque, 
" Differentiis triginta duabus, multo magis viginti 
" quatuor (qui est Numerus Alphabet! apud nos) suffi- 
" ciet. Huius Alphabeti. Exemplum tale est." 

" But for avoiding suspicion altogether, I will add an- 
" other contrivance, which I devised myself when I was 
" at Paris in my early youth, and which I still think 
" worthy of preservation. For it has the perfection of a 
" cipher, which is to make anything signifying anything ; 
" subject however to this condition, that the infolding 
" writing shall contain at least five times as many letters 
"as the writing infolded; no other condition or restric- 
" tion is required. The way to do it is this : First let 
" all the letters of the Alphabet be resolved into transpo- 
" sitions of two letters only. For the transposition of two 
" letters through five places will yield thirty-two differ- 
" ences ; much more twenty-four, which is the number of 
" letters in our Alphabet. Here is an example of such 
" an Alphabet. 

aaaaa aaaab aaaba aaabb aabaa aabab aabba aabbb 

I K L M N O P Q 
abaaa abaab ababa ababb abbaa abbab abbba abbbb 

baaaa baaab baaba baabb babaa babab babba babbb 

" Nor is it a slight thing which is thus by the way 
" effected. For heare we see how thoughts may be com- 
" municated at any distance of place by means of any 
" objects perceptible either to the eye or ear, provided only 
" that those objects are capable of two differences; as by 

Appendix 459 

" bells, trumpets, torches, gunshots, and the like. But to 
" proceed with our business. When you prepare to write, 
" you must reduce the interior epistle to this bi-literal 
" alphabet. Let the interior epistle be : 

Example of reduction. 

aabab ababa babba 

" Have by you at the same time another alphabet in 
" two forms ; I mean in which each of the letters of the 
" common alphabet, both capitals and small, are exhibited 
" in two different forms, any forms that you find con- 
" venient." 

[For instance, Roman and Italic letters ; " a " repre- 
senting Roman and " b " representing Italic.] 

" Then take your interior epistle, reduced to the bi- 
" literal shape, and adapt it, letter by letter, to your ex- 
" terior epistle in the biform character ; and then write it 
" out. Let the exterior epistle be. 

" Do not go till I come." 
Example of reduction 


aabab ababa babba 


do not go till I come 

From the above given dates it would almost seem as if 
Bacon had treated the matter in a purely academic man- 
ner, and had drawn out of his remembrance of his younger 
days a method of secret communication which had not 
seen any practical service. Spedding mentions in his book 
" Francis Bacon and his Times " that Bacon may have 
got the hint of the ' bi-literal cypher ' from the work of 
John Baptist Porta, " De occultis literarum notis," re- 

460 Appendix 

printed in Strasburg in 1606, but the first edition of which 
was published when Porta was a young man. It is how- 
ever manifest from certain evidence, that Bacon practised 
his special cipher and used it for many years. Lady 
Bacon, mother of the philosopher, writing in 1593, to her 
son Anthony, elder brother of Francis, speaking of him, 
Francis, says, " I do not understand his enigmatical folded 
writing." Indeed it is possible that many years before 
he had tried to have his invention made use of for public 
service. His was an age of secret writing. Every Am- 
bassador had to send his despatches in cipher, for thus 
and even then not always could they be safe from hostile 
eyes. The thousands of pages of reports to King Philip 
made by Don Bernardino de Mendoza, the Spanish Am- 
bassador at the Court of Queen Elizabeth, before the time 
of the Armada, were all written in this form ; the groan- 
ing shelves of the records at Simancas bear evidence of 
the industry of such political officials and of their spies 
and secretaries. An ambitious youth like Francis Bacon, 
son of the Lord Keeper, and so traditionally and famil- 
iarly in touch with Court and Council, who in his baby 
days was addressed by Elizabeth as her " young Lord 
Keeper," and who spent the time between his sixteenth 
and eighteenth years in the suite of the English Ambassa- 
dor in Paris, Sir Amyas Paulet, must have had constant 
experience of the need of a cipher which would fulfill 
the conditions which he laid down as essential in 1605 
facility of execution, impossibility of discovery, and lack of 
suspiciousness. When, in a letter of 16 Sept. 1580, to his 
uncle Lord Burghley, he made suit to the Queen for some 
special employment, it is possible that the post he sought 
was that of secret writer to Her Majesty. His letter, 
though followed up with a more pressing one on i8th 
October of the same year, remained unanswered. What- 
ever the motive or purpose of these last two letters may 
have been, it remained on his mind ; for eleven years later 

Appendix 46 1 

we find him again writing to his uncle the Lord Keeper : 
" I ever have a mind to serve Her Majesty," and again, 
" the meanness of my estate doth somewhat move me." 
In the interval, on 25th August, 1585, he wrote to the 
Right Hon. Sir Francis Walsingham, Principal Secre- 
tary to the Queen : " In default of getting it, will go 
" back to course of practice (at Bar) I must and will 
" follow, not for my necessity of estate but for my credit's 
" sake, which I fear by being out of action will wear." 
His brother Anthony spent the best part of his life abroad, 
presumably on some secret missions ; and as Francis was 
the recipient of his letters it was doubtless that " folded 
writing " which so puzzled their mother which was used 
for the safety and secrecy of their correspondence. In- 
deed to what a fine point the biliteral method must have 
been brought by Bacon and his correspondents is shown 
by the extraordinarily minute differences given in his own 
setting forth of the symbols for " a " and " b " etc., in the 
" De Augmentis" of 1623 and later. In the edition 
printed in Latin in Paris the next year, 1624, by Peter 
Mettayer, the differences, possibly through some imper- 
fection of printing, are so minute that even the reader 
studying the characters set before him, with the extra 
elucidation of their being placed under their proper head- 
ings, finds it almost impossible to understand them. The 
cutting for instance of the " n " which represents " a " and 
that which represents " b " seems, even after prolonged 
study, to be the same. 

It is to be noticed that Bacon in setting forth the cipher 
in its completeness directs attention to its infinite possi- 
bilities and variations. The organised repetition of any 
two symbols in combinations of not more than five for 
one or both symbols may convey ideas. Not letters only 
but colours, bells, cannon, or other sounds may be used 
with effect. All the senses may be employed, or any or 
some of them, in endless combinations. 

462 Appendix 

Again it is to be noted that even in his first allusion to 
the system in 1605, he says, " to write Omnia per Omnia, 
which is undoubtedly possible, with a proportion Quin- 
tuple at most, of the writing infoulding, to the writing 

" Quintuple at most ! " But in the instances of his 
system which he gives eighteen years later, when prob- 
ably his time for secret writing as a matter of business 
had ceased, and when from the lofty altitude of the Wool- 
sack he could behold unmoved any who had concealments 
to make provided of course that they were not connected 
with bribes there is only one method given, that of five 
infolding letters for each one infolded. In the later and 
fuller period he speaks also of the one necessary condi- 
tion " that the infoulding writing shall contain at least 
five times as many letters as the writing infoulded " 

Even in the example which he gives " Do not go till I 
come," there is a superfluous letter, the final " e ; " as 
though he wished to mislead the reader by inference as 
well as by direct statement. 

Is it possible that he stopped short in his completion 
of this marvellous cipher? Can we believe that he 
who openly spoke from the first of symbols "quintuple 
at most," was content to use so large a number of in- 
folding letters when he could possibly do with less? 
Why, the last condition of excellence in a cipher which 
he himself laid down, namely, that it should " bee with- 
out suspicion," would be endangered by a larger num- 
ber than was actually necessary. It is by repetition 
of symbols that the discovery of secret writing is made ; 
and in a cipher where, manifestly, the eye or the ear or 
the touch or the taste must be guided by such, and so 
marked and prolonged, symbols, the chances of discovery 
are enormously increased. Doubtless, then, he did not 
rest in his investigation and invention until he had 
brought his cipher to its least dimensions ; and it was for 

Appendix 463 

some other reason or purpose that he thus tried to divert 
the mind of the student from his earlier suggestion. It 
will probably be proved hereafter that more than one 
variant and reduction to lower dimensions of his bi- 
literal cipher was used between himself and his friends. 
When the secrets of that " Scrivenry " which, according 
to Mr. W. G. Thorpe in his interesting volume, " The 
Hidden Lives of Shakespeare and Bacon," Bacon kept 
at work in Twickenham Park, are made known, we shall 
doubtless know more on the subject. Of one point, how- 
ever, we may rest assured, that Bacon did not go back 
in his pursuance of an interesting study ; and the change 
from " Quintuple at most " of the infolding writing of 
1605, to " Quintuple at least," of 1623, was meant for 
some purpose of misleading or obscuration, rather than as 
a limitation of his original setting forth of the powers 
and possibilities of his great invention. It will some day 
be an interesting theme of speculation and study what 
use of his biliteral cipher had been made between 1605 
and 1623; and what it was that he wished to conceal. 
That the original cipher, as given, can be so reduced is 
manifest. Of the Quintuple biliteral there are thirty- 
two combinations. As in the Elizabethan alphabet, as 
Bacon himself points out, there were but twenty-four 
letters, certain possibilities of reduction at once unfold 
themselves, since at the very outset one entire fourth of 
the symbols are unused. 



WHEN I examined the scripts together, both that 
of the numbers and those of the dots, I 
found distinct repetitions of groups of sym- 
bols; but no combinations sufficiently recurrent to allow 
me to deal with them as entities. In the number cipher 
the class of repetitions seemed more marked. This may 
have been, however, that as the symbols were simpler 
and of a kind with which I was more familiar, the traces 
or surmises were easier to follow. It gave me hope to 
find that there was something in common between the two 
methods. It might be, indeed, that both writings were 
but variants of the same system. Unconsciously I gave 
my attention to the simpler form the numbers and for 
a long weary time went over them forward, backward, 
up and down, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing ; 
but without any favorable result. The only encourage- 
ment which I got was that I got additions of eight and 
nine, each of these many times repeated. Try how I 
would, however, I could not scheme out of them any co- 
herent result. 

When in desperation I returned to the dotted papers I 
found that this method was still more exasperating, for 
on a close study of them I could not fail to see that there 
was a cipher manifest; though what it was, or how it 
could be read, seemed impossible to me. Most of the 
letters had marks in or about them; indeed there were 


Appendix 465 

very few which had not. Examining more closely still I 
found that the dots were disposed in three different ways : 
(a) in the body of the letter itself: (b) above the letter: 
(c) below it. There was never more than one mark in 
the body of the letter; but those above or below were 
sometimes single and sometimes double. Some letters 
had only the dot in the body ; and others, whether marked 
on the body or not, had no dots either above or below. 
Thus there was every form and circumstance of marking 
within these three categories. The only thing which my 
instinct seemed to impress upon me continually was that 
very few of the letters had marks both above and below. 
In such cases two were above and one below, or vice 
versa; but in no case were there marks in the body and 
above and below also. At last I came to the conclusion 
that I had better, for the time, abandon attempting to 
decipher; and try to construct a cipher on the lines of 
Bacon's Biliteral one which would ultimately accord in 
some way with the external conditions of either, or both, 
of those before me. 

But Bacon's Biliteral as set forth in the Novum Or- 
ganum had five symbols in every case. As there were 
here no repetitions of five, I set myself to the task of re- 
ducing Bacon's system to a lower number of symbols 
a task which in my original memorandum I had held 
capable of accomplishment. 

For hours I tried various means of reduction, each time 
getting a little nearer to the ultimate simplicity ; till at last 
I felt that I had mastered the principle. 

Take the Baconian biliteral cipher as he himself gives 
it and knock out repetitions of four or five aaaaa : aaaab : 
abbbb: baaaa: bbbba: and bbbbb. This would leave a 
complete alphabet with two extra symbols for use as stops, 
repeats, capitals, etc. This method of deletion, however, 
would not allow of the reduction of the number of sym- 


466 Appendix 

bols used; there would still be required five for each 
letter to be infolded. We have therefore to try another 
process of reduction, that affecting the variety of sym- 
bols without reference to the number of times, up to 
five, which each one is repeated. 

Take therefore the Baconian Biliteral and place opposite 
to each item the number of symbols required. The first, 
(aaaaa) requires but one symbol " a," the second, (aaaab) 
two, " a " and " b; " the third (aaaba) three, " a " " b " 
and "a;" and so on. We shall thus find that the nth 
(ababa) and the 22nd (babab) require five each, and 
that the 6th, loth, I2th, I4th, igth, 2ist, 23rd and 27th 
require four each. If, therefore, we delete all these bi- 
literal combinations which require four or five symbols 
each ten in all we have still left twenty-two combina- 
tions, necessitating at most not more than two changes of 
symbol in addition to the initial letter of each, requiring 
up to five quantities of the same symbol. Fit these to the 
alphabet ; and the scheme of cipher is complete. 

If, therefore, we can devise any means of expressing, 
in conjunction with each symbol, a certain number of re- 
peats up to five; and if we can, for practical purposes, 
reduce our alphabet to twenty-two letters, we can at once 
reduce the biliteral cipher to three instead of five symbols. 

The latter is easy enough, for certain letters are so 
infrequently used that they may well be grouped in twos. 
Take " X " and " Z " for instance. In modern printing in 
English where the letter " e " is employed seventy times, 
" x " is only used three times, and " z " twice. Again, 
" k " is only used six times, and " q " only three times. 
Therefore we may very well group together " k " and 
"q," and "x" and " z." The lessening of the Eliza- 
bethan alphabet thus effected would leave but twenty-two 
letters, the same number as the combinations of the bi- 
literal remaining after the elision. And further, as " W " 

Appendix 467 

is but " V " repeated, we could keep a special symbol to 
represent the repetition of this or any other letter, 
whether the same be in the body of a word, or if it be the 
last of one word and the first of that which follows. Thus 
we give a greater elasticity to the cipher and so minimise 
the chance of discovery. 

As to the expression of numerical values applied to 
each of the symbols " a " and " b " of the biliteral cipher 
as above modified, such is simplicity itself in a number 
cipher. As there are two symbols to be represented and 
five values to each four in addition to the initial take 
the numerals, one to ten which latter, of course, could 
be represented by o. Let the odd numbers according to 
their values stand for " a " : 

aaaa= r 7 


and the even numbers according to their values stand for 

" b " : 


bb = 4 




and then ? Eureka ! We have a Biliteral Cipher in which 
each letter is represented by one, two, or three, numbers ; 
and so the five symbols of the Baconian Biliteral is re- 
duced to three at maximum. 

Variants of this scheme can of course, with a little 
ingenuity, be easily reconstructed. 




LACE in their relative order as appearing in the 
original arrangement the selected symbols of the 
Biliteral : 

a a a a a 

a a a a b 


Then place opposite each the number arrived at by the 
application of odd and even figures to represent the nu- 
merical values of the symbols " a " and " b." 

Thus aaaaa will be as shown 9 
aaaab will be as shown 72 
aaaba will be as shown 521 

and so on. Then put in sequence of numerical value. 
We shall then have: o. 9. 18. 27. 36. 45. 54. 63. 72. 81. 
125. 143. 161. 216. 234. 252. 323. 341. 414. 432. 521. 
612. An analysis shows that of these there are two of 
one figure ; eight of two figures ; and twelve of three 
figures. Now as regards the latter series the symbols 
composed of three figures we will find that if we add 
together the component figures of each of those which 
begins and ends with an even number they will tot up 
to nine; but that the total of each of those commencing 


Appendix 469 

and ending with an odd number only total up to eight. 
There are no two of these symbols which clash with one 
another so as to cause confusion. 

To fit the alphabet to this cipher the simplest plan is 
to reserve one symbol (the first " o ") to represent the 
repetition of a foregoing letter. This would not only 
enlarge possibilities of writing, but would help to baffle 
inquiry. There is a distinct purpose in choosing " o " 
as the symbol of repetition for it can best be spared; it 
would invite curiosity to begin a number cipher with 
" o," were it in use in any combination of figures repre- 
senting a letter. 

Keep all the other numbers and combinations of num- 
bers for purely alphabetical use. Then take the next five 
9 to 45 to represent the vowels. The rest of the alpha- 
bet can follow in regular sequence, using up of the triple 
combinations, first those beginning and ending with even 
numbers and which tot up to nine, and when these have 
been exhausted, the others, those beginning and ending 
with odd numbers and which tot up to eight, in their 
own sequence. 

If this plan be adopted, any letter of a word can be 
translated into numbers which are easily distinguishable, 
and whose sequence can be seemingly altered, so as to 
baffle inquisitive eyes, by the addition of any other num- 
bers placed anywhere throughout the cipher. All of 
these added numbers can easily be discovered and elimi- 
nated by the scribe who undertakes the work of decipher- 
ation, by means of the additions of odd or even numbers, 
or by reference to his key. The whole cipher is so ra- 
tionally exact that any one who knows the principle can 
make a key in a few minutes. 

As I had gone on with my work I was much cheered 
by certain resemblances or coincidences which presented 
themselves, linking my new construction with the exist- 

470 Appendix 

ing cipher. When I hit upon the values of additions of 
eight and nine as the component elements of some of 
the symbols, I felt sure that I was now on the right track. 
At the completion of my work I was exultant for I felt 
satisfied in believing that the game was now in my own 



THE problem which I now put before myself was 
to make dots in a printed book in which I 
could repeat accurately and simply the setting 
forth of the biliteral cipher. I had, of course, a clue or 
guiding principle in the combinations of numbers with 
the symbols of " a " and " b " as representing the Alpha- 
betical symbols. Thus it was easy to arrange that " a " 
should be represented by a letter untouched and " b " by 
one with a mark. This mark might be made at any point 
of the letter. Here I referred to the cipher itself and 
found that though some letters were marked with a dot 
in the centre or body of the letter, those both above and 
below wherever they occurred showed some kind of or- 
ganised use. " Why not," said I to myself, " use the body 
for the difference between " a " and " b ; " and the top 
and bottom for numbers? 

No sooner said than done. I began at once to devise 
various ways of representing numbers by marks or dots 
at top and bottom. Finally I fixed, as being the most 
simple, on the following: 

Only four numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 are required to make 
the number of times each letter of the symbol is re- 
peated, there being in the original Baconian cipher, after 
the elimination of the ten variations already made, only 
three changes of symbol to represent any letter. Marks 
at the top might therefore represent the even numbers 

472 Appendix 

" 2. " and " 4 " one mark standing for " two " and two 
marks for " four " ; marks at the bottom would represent 
the odd numbers " 3 " and " 5 " one mark standing for 
" three " and two marks for " five." 

Thus " a a a a a " would be represented by " a " or any 
other letter with two dots below : " a a a a b " by a b, or 
any other letters similarly treated. As any letter left plain 
would represent " a " and any letter dotted in the body 
would represent " b " the cipher is complete for application 
to any printed or written matter. As in the number 
cipher, the repetition of a letter could be represented by 
a symbol which in this variant would be the same as 
the symbol for ten or " o." It would be any letter with 
one dot in the body and two under it, thus t. 

For the purpose of adding to the difficulty of discovery, 
where two marks were given either above or below the 
letter, the body mark (representing the letter as " b " in 
the Biliteral) might be placed at the opposite end. This 
would create no confusion in the mind of an advised de- 
cipherer, but would puzzle the curious. 

On the above basis I completed my key and set to my 
work of deciphering with a jubilant heart; for I felt 
that so soon as I should have adjusted any variations be- 
tween the systems of the old writer and my own, work 
only was required to ultimately master the secret. 



The following tables will illustrate the making and 
working both in ciphering and de-ciphering of the 
amended Biliteral Cipher of Francis Bacon : 


P (Plain) means letter left untouched 
One Dot (.) at Top (t) a 
One Dot (.) at Bottom (b) 3 

D (Dot) means letter with dot in body 
Two Dots (..) at Top (t) 4 
Two Dots (..) at Bottom (b) g 








w a 


No. Val- 

to be 


. on 


ties of 

in order. 



A I aaaaa 





B 2 aaaab 





C 3 aaaba 




-P .b-D-P 

D 4 aaabb 




P .b D.t 

E 5 a a b a a 




P .t D-P.t 

F 6 aabab 


3.2.1. 2 

G 7 aabba 




H 8 aabbb 




-P .t-D.b 

I 9 abaaa 

__ J i+ _ 



-P D-P.b 

K 10 abaab 



L ii ababa 



M 12 ababb 

_ _ A 


N 13 abbaa 




P D .t-P.t 

O 14 abbab 



P 15 abbba 




-P-D .b-P 

Q 16 abbbb 




R 17 baaaa 




-D P..t 

S 18 baaab 

_ *% ^_ 



-D-P .b-D 

T 19 baaba 
V 20 baabb 



-D-P .t.-D.t 

W 21 babaa 


X 22 babab 


2. I. 2. I. 2 

Y 33 babba 
Z 24 babbb 
25 b b a a a 
26 b b a a b 






-D P D b 
-D.t P.b 
D.t Pt-D 

27 b b a b a 
28 b b a b b 
29 b bb aa 
30 b b b a b 
ji b b b b a 



_ 2 _ 








D.t P D.t 
D .b-P.t 
D .b P D 
D..t P 

32 b b b b b 





NOTE When there are to be two dots at either top or bottom of a letter, 
the dot usually put in the body of a letter which is to indicate b can be 
t>laced at the opposite end of the letter to the double dotting. Thin will 
Ee!p to baffle investigation without puzzling the skilled interpreter. 




Divide off into additions of nine or eight. Thus'if extraneous 
figures have been inserted, they can be detected and'deleted. 

A = 9 
B =54 
C=6 3 
D = 72 
E = iB 
F =81 
G =216 
H = 234 
I =27 
K.Q = 252 
L = 414 
N= 612 
= 36 
P = 125 

= i43 

X.Z = 341 

Y =521 

Repeat = O 





O = Repeat Letter 
125 = P 
143 = R 
i6i = S 
18 =E 
216= G 
234 = H 
252 = K or Q 
27 =1 
323 = T 
341 = X or Z 
36 =O 
414 = L 
432 = M 
45 =UorV 
521 = Y 
54 = B 
612 =N 
63 =C 
72 =D 
81 =F 
9 =A 


Values the same as Number Cipher. 

The RIGHT hand, beginning at the thumb, represent the ODD 

The LEFT hand, beginning at the thumb, represent the EVEN 

& ^ , s 




P Letter left plain. 
D Dot in centre or where are two 
dots t or b in other end (b or t). 

. Dot. 

t top of letter. 

b bottom of letter. 








D . 





. t 

. t 







. t- 

. t=R 

C=D . 



T7 P 

.. t 
D . 

. t 
. t 
. t 
.. t 



t T 




. t - 
. b- 


T n 

.. t 







h Cl 




. t 

. t 


t TT 



. T 

P P 






. t 
. t 
. t 
.. t 



t I 



. b 


. t 





,,.. F 




Y p 

sat D .. 


rw i 

neated ) 


. t - 

Reoeat (W) 


Begin fresh with each line. 

Take no account of stops. 

Take no account of Capitals or odd words. 

v is one letter. 



WHEN my kinsman who was known as the 
" Spanish Cardinal " heard of my arrival in 
Rome in obedience to his secret summons, he 
sent one to me who took me to see him at the Vatican. 
I went at once and found that though the carriage of his 
great office had somewhat aged my kinsman it had not 
changed the sweet bearing which he had ever had towards 
me. He entered at once on the matter regarding which 
he had summoned me, leaving to later those matters of 
home and family which were close to us both, and prefac- 
ing his speech with an assurance unnecessary I enforced 
on him that he would not have urged me to so great a 
voyage, and at a time when the concerns of home and of 
His Catholic Majesty so needed me in my own place, had 
there not been strictest need of my presence at Rome. 
This he then explained, ever anticipating my ignorance, 
so lucidly and with sweet observance of my needs, that I 
could not wonder at his great advancement. 

Entering at once on the enterprise of the King as to 
the restoration of England to the fold of the True Church 
he made clear to me that the one great wish of His Holi- 
nesse was to aid in all ways the achievement of the same. 
To such end he was willing to devote a vast treasure, the 
which he had accumulated for the purpose through many 
years. " But " said my kinsman, and with so much smil- 
ing as might become his grave office " the King hath here 


Appendix 477 

at the Court of Rome one to represent him, who, though 
doubtless a zealous and faithful servant of his Royal 
Master, hath not those qualities of discretion and discern- 
ment, of the subjugation of self and the discipline of 
his own ideas, which go to make up the perfection of the 
Ambassador. He hath already many times and in many 
ways, to many persons and in many Countries, said of 
His Holinesse such things as, even if true and they are 
not so were, in the high discretion of his office as Am- 
basador, better unspoken. This, moreover, in an Em- 
bassy wherein he wishes to acquire much which the 
mundane world holds to be of great worth. The Count 
de Olivares hath spoken freely and without reserve of the 
Holy Father's reticence in handing over vast sums of 
money to His Catholic Majesty as due to parsimony, to 
avarice, to meanness of spirit, and to other low qualities 
which, though common enough in men, are soil to the 
name of God's Vicegerent on Earth ! " Nay " he went on, 
seeing that my horror was such as to verge on doubt, 
" trust me in this, for of the verity of these things I am 
assured. Rome hath many eyes, and the hearing of her 
ears is widecast. The Pope and his Cardinals are well 
served throughout the world. Little indeed happens in 
Christendom aye and beyond it which is not echoed in 
secret in the Vatican. I know that not only has Count de 
Olivares spoken of his beliefs regarding the Holy Father 
to his mundane friends, but he has not hesitated in his 
formal despatches to say the same to his Royal Master. 
It hath grieved His Holinesse much that any could so 
misunderstand him, and it hath grieved him more that 
His Catholic Majesty should receive such calumnies with- 
out demur. Wherefore he would take some other means 
than the hand of the King of Spain to accomplish his own 
secret ends. He knoweth well the high purpose of His 
Catholic Majesty, your Royal Master, in the restoration 

478 Appendix 

of England to the True Faith ; but yet his mind is much 
disturbed by his recent pronouncements regarding the 
Bishoprics. The See of Rome is the Arch Episcopate of 
the Earth, and to its Bishop belongs by God's very or- 
dinance the ruling of all the bishoprics of the Church. 
" Upon this Rock shall I build my Church." Now His 
Holinesse hath already promised a million crowns to- 
wards the great emprise of the Armada; and he hath 
promised it so that it be handed over to the King when 
his emprise, which is after all for the enlargement of his 
own kingdom, hath begun to bear fruit. But Count de 
Olivares is not content with this promise the promise 
remember of God's Vicegerent and he is ever clamorous, 
not only for the immediate payment of this promised sum, 
but for other sums. His new request is for another mil- 
lion crowns. And even in the very presence of His Holi- 
nesse, he so bears himself as if the non-compliance with 
his demand were a wrong to him and to his Master. 
From all which His Holinesse, consulting in privacy 
with me who am also his friend such is the greatness 
with which he honoureth me hath determined that, 
whereas he will of course keep to the last letter his prom- 
ise of help, and will even exceed largely the same, he will 
dispose in other ways of the great treasure which he 
had already set aside for this English affair. When he 
honoured me by asking my advice as to whom should 
be entrusted with this high endeavour, and had shown 
that of necessity it should be some Spaniard so that here- 
after it might not be said that the emprise of the Armada 
had not his full sanction and support, I ventured to sug- 
gest that in you first of all men this high trust should 
be reposed. For yourself, I said that I had known you 
from childhood, and had found you without a flaw ; and 
that you came from a race that had gone clothed in 
honour since the time of the Moors." 

Appendix 479 

Much other of like kind, my children, did my kins- 
man tell me that he had said to His Holinesse; which 
so satisfied him that he had commanded him to send 
for me so that he could have the assurance of his own 
seeing what manner of man I was. My kinsman then 
went on to tell me how he had told His Holinesse of 
what I had already taken in hand regarding the Great 
Armada. How I had promised the King a galleon 
fully equipped and manned with seamen and soldiers 
from our old Castile; and how His Majesty was so 
pleased, since my offer had been the first he had re- 
ceived, that he had sworn that my vessel should carry 
the flag of the squadron of the galleons of Castile. He 
told him also that the galleon was to be called the San 
Cristobal from my patron saint; and also that so her 
figurehead should bear the image of the Christ into Eng- 
lish waters the first of all things that came from my 
Province. Which idea so wrought upon the mind of His 
Holinesse that he said : " Good man ! Good Spaniard ! 
Good Christian ! I shall provide the figurehead for the 
San Cristobal myself. When Don de Escoban comes 
here I shall arrange it with him." 

When my kinsman had so informed me as to many 
things he left me a while, saying that he would ask the 
Pope to arrange for an audience with me. Shortly he 
returned with haste, saying that the Holy Father wished 
me to come to him at once. I went in exaltation mingled 
with fear ; and all my unworthiness of such high honour 
rose before me. But when I came to His Holinesse and 
knelt before him he blessed me and raised me up him- 
self. And when he bade me, I raised my eyes and looked 
at him in the face. Whereat he turned to the Spanish 
Cardinal and said : " You have spoken under the mark, 
my brother. Here is a man indeed in whom I can trust 
to the full." 

480 Appendix 

And so, my children, he made me sit by him, and for a 
long time it was more than two hours by the clock he 
talked with me about his wish. And, oh my children, I 
would that you and others could hear the wise words of 
that great and good man. He was so worldly-wise, in 
addition to his Saintly wisdom, that nothing seemed to 
lack in his reasoning; nothing was too small to be out- 
side his understanding and considerations of the motives 
and arts of men. He told me with exceeding frankness 
of his views of the situation. All the while, my kinsman 
smiled and nodded approval now and again ; and it filled 
me with pride that one of my own blood should stand so 
close to the counsels of His Holinesse. He told me that 
though war was a sad necessity, which he as himself an 
earthly monarch was compelled to understand and accept, 
yet he preferred infinitely the ways of peace; and more- 
over believed in them. In his own wise words, " the 
logic of the cannon, though more loud, speaks not so 
forcibly as the logic of the living day between sunrise 
and sunset." When later he added to this conviction that, 
" the chink of the money-bag speaks more loudly than 
either," I ventured an impulsive word of protest. Where- 
upon he stopped and looking at me sharply asked if I 
knew how to bribe. To which I replied that as yet I had 
given none, nor taken none. Then smilingly he laid his 
hand in f riendlinesse on my shoulder and said : " My 
friend, Saint Escoban, these be two things, not one ; and 
though to take a bribe is to be unforgiven, yet to give one 
at high command is but a duty, like the soldier's duty to 
kill which is not murder, which it would be without such 
behest." Then raising his hand to silence my protest he 
said : "I know what you would say : ' Woe to that man 
by whom the scandal cometh,' but such argument, my 
friend, is my province ; and its responsibility is mine. Ere 
you proceed on your mission you shall have indemnity for 

Appendix 48 1 

the carriage of all my commands. You go into an enemy's 
country ; a country which is the professed and malignant 
enemy of Holy Church, and where faith and honour are 
not. God's work is to be done in many ways. It is suffi- 
cient that He has allowed instruments that are unworthy 
and unholy; and as unworthy and unholy we must use 
them to His ends. You, Don de Escoban, shall have no 
pain in such matters, and no shame. My commands shall 
cover you ! " Then, when I had bowed my recognition 
of his will, he resumed his instructions. He said that in 
England in high places were many men who were open 
to sell their knowledge or their power, and that when 
once they had accepted payment it were needful for their 
own credit and even for their safety, that they should 
further the end which they had undertaken. " These 
English," he said, " are pagans ; and it was said of this 
our Holy City in pagan times ' Omnia Romae venalia 
sunt ! ' ' Whereupon there was borne upon me a recollec- 
tion of years before when I was in the suite of the Am- 
bassador at Paris, how a boy in the British Embassy who 
was shewing me a cipher of encloased writing which he 
had just perfected had written in it with uncouth lettering 
as an illustration " Omnia Britaniae venalia sunt." And 
further did remember how we had enlarged and perfected 
the cipher when we resided together at Tours. His Holi- 
nesse told me that in great seasons it were needful to 
scatter favours with a lavish hand, and that no season 
was or could be so great as that which foreran the restor- 
ing to the fold a great and active nation who was already 
beginning to rule the seas. " To which end," he said, " I 
am placing with you a vastness of treasure such as no na- 
tion hath ever seen. The gifts of the Faithful have begun 
it and enlarged it ; and the fruits of many victories have 
enhanced it. Regarding it, there is only one promise 
which I will exact from you, and that I shall exact in the 


482 Appendix 

most solemn way of which the Church has knowledge; 
that this vast treasure be applied to onely that purpose 
to which it is ordained the advancement of the True 
Faith. It will add also, of course, to the honour and 
glory of the Kingdom of Spain, so that for all time the 
world may know that the comfort of the Roman See is 
on the emprise of the Great Armada ! In proof of which 
should, for the sins of men, the great emprise fail, you 
or those who may succeed you in the Trust are, if I my- 
self be not then living, to hand the Treasure to the cus- 
tody of whatever monarch may then sit upon the throne 
of Spain for his good guardianship, in trust with me." 

So he proceeded to detail ; and gave full instructions as 
to the amount of the treasure. How it was to be placed in 
my hands, and when ; and all details of its using when the 
Armada should have made landing on English shores. 
And how I should use it myself, in case I were not told 
to hand it over to some other. If I were to yield up the 
treasure, the mandate should be enforced by letter, to- 
gether with the showing of a ring, which he took from 
the purse where he kept the Fisherman's ring wherewith 
he signs all briefs, and allowed me to examine it so that I 
might recognize it if shown to me hereafter. All of which 
things of using are not now of importance to you, my 
children, for the time of their usefulness has passed by; 
but only to show that the treasure is to be guarded, and 
finally given to the custody of the King of Spain. 

Then His Holiness spoke to me of my own vessel. He 
promised me that a suitable figurehead, one wrought for 
his own galley by the great Benvenuto Cellini, and 
blessed by Himself, should be duly sent on to me. He 
promised also that the Quittance to me and mine, which 
he had named should be completed and lodged in the 
secret archives of the Papacy. Then once more he blessed 
me, and on parting gave me a relic of San Cristobal. 

Appendix 483 

whose possession, together with the honour done me, 
made me feel as I left the Vatican as though I walked 
upon air. 

On my return to Spain I visited the ship yard at 
San Lucar, where already the building of the San 
Cristobal was in progress. I arranged in private 
with the master builder that there should be con- 
structed in the centre of the galleon a secret chamber, 
well encased round with teak wood from the Indies, and 
with enforcement of steel plates ; and with a lock to the 
iron door, such as Pedro the Venetian hath already con- 
structed for the treasure chest of the King. By my sug- 
gestion, and his wisdom in the doing of the matter, the 
secret chamber was so arranged in disposition, and so 
masked in with garniture of seeming unimportance, that 
none, unless of the informed, might tell its presence, or 
indeed of its very existence. It was placed as though in 
a well of teak wood and steel, hemmed in on all sides; 
without entrance whatever from the lower parts, and only 
approachable from the top which lay under my own cabin, 
down deep in the centre of the galleon. Men in single 
and detachments, were brought from other ship yards for 
the doing of this work, and all so disposed in Port that 
none might have greater knowledge than of that item 
which he completed at the time. Save only those few 
of the guilds whose faith had long been made manifest 
by their rectitude of life and their discretion of silence. 

Into this secret receptacle (to continue this narrative 
out of its due sequence) when the final outfitting of the 
Invincible Armada came to pass, was placed, under my 
own supervision, in the night time and in secret, all the 
vast treasure which had before then been sent to me 
secretly by agents of His Holinesse. Full tally and 
reckoning made I with my own hand, nominating the 
coined money by its value in crowns and doubloons, and 

484 Appendix 

the gold and silver in bullion by their weight. I made a 
list in separate also of the endless array of precious stones, 
both those enriched in carvings and inriching the Jewells 
of gold and silver wrought by the cunning of the great 
artizans. I made list also of the gems implanted, which 
were of innumerable number and of various bigness. 
These latter I specified by kind and number, singling out 
some of rare size and quality for description. The whole 
table of the list I signed and sent by his messengers to 
the Pope, specifying thereon that I had them in trust for 
His Holinesse to dispose of them as he might direct; or 
to yield over to whomsoever he might depute to receive 
them whenever and wherever they might be in the guar- 
dianship of me or mine, the order of His Holinesse being 
verified by the exhibition by the new trustee of the Eagle 

Before the San Cristobal had left San Lucar, there 
arrived from Rome, in a package of great bulk brought 
by a ship accredited by the Pope, so that corsairs other 
than Turks and pagans might respect the flag, and so ab- 
stain from plunder the figurehead of the galleon which 
His Holinesse had promised to supply. With it came a 
sealed missive cautioning me that I should open the pack- 
age in privacy, and deal with its contents only by means 
of those in whom I had full trust, since it was even in its 
substance most precious. In addition to which it had been 
specially wrought by Benvenuto Cellini, the Master gold- 
smith whose work was contended for by the Kings of the 
earth. It was the wish of His Holinesse himself that on 
the conversion of England being completed, either 
through peace or war, this figurehead of the San Cristo- 
bal should be set over the High Altar of the Cathedral at 
Westminster, where it would serve for all time of an 
emblem of the love of the Pope for the wellbeing of the 
souls of his English children. 

Appendix 485 

I opened the case with only present a chosen few ; and 
truly we were wonderstruck with the beauty and richness 
of the Jewell, for it was none other, which was discloased 
to us. The great figure of San Cristobal was silver gilded 
to look like gold, and of such thickness that the hollow 
within rang sweetly at a touch as though a bell sounded 
there. But the Figure of the child Christ which he bore 
upon his shoulder was of none other than solid gold. 
When we who were present saw it, we sank to our knees 
in gratitude for so great a tribute of Holinesse, and also 
the beauty of the tribute to the Divine Excellence. Truly 
the kindness of the Pope and the zeal of his artist were 
without bound; for with the figurehead came a Jewell 
made in the form of a brooch carven in gold which repre- 
sented it in petto. It was known to all the Squadron that 
the Pope himself had sent the figurehead of the San 
Cristobal; and as our vessel moved along the line of gal- 
leons and ships, and hulks, and pataches, and galleys of 
the Armada, the heads of all were uncovered and the 
knees of all were bent. We had not any christening of 
the galleon, for the blessing of the Holy Father was al- 
ready on the figurehead of the ship and encompassed it 
round about. 

None knew on board the San Cristobal of the exist- 
ence of the treasure, save only the Captain of the galleon 
Icons and ships, and hulks, and pataches, and galleys of 
the Squadron of Castile, to both of whom I entrusted 
the secret of the treasure (though not the giver nor the 
nature of the Trust nor the amount thereof), lest ill 
should befall me, and in ignorance the whole through 
some disaster be lost. And let me here say to their 
honour that my confidence was kept faithfully to the last ; 
though it may be that had they known the magnitude of 
the treasure it might have been otherwise, men being but 
as flax before the fire of cupidity. 

486 Appendix 

For myself after I embarked, I went on the journey 
with mixed feelings; for my body unaccustomed to the 
sea warred mightily with my soul that had full trust in 
the enterprise. The many days of storm and trial after 
we had left Lisbon, until we had found a refuge in 
Corunna did seem as though the comings of eternity had 
been made final. For the turmoil of the winds and the 
waves was indeed excessive, and even those most skilled 
in the ways and the wonders of the deep asseverated that 
never had been known weather so unpropitious to the 
going forth of ships. Truly this time, though less than 
three weeks in all, did seem of a durance inconceivable 
to one on land. 

Whilst we lay in the harbour of Corunna, which was 
for more than four weary weeks, we effected some neces- 
sary repairs. The San Cristobal had been taking water 
at the prow, and we should find the cause and remedy it. 
Possibly it was that the bow was left unfinished at San 
Lucar for the better fixing of the figurehead, and that 
some small flaw thus begun met enlargement from the 
straining of the timbers in the prolonged storm. To the 
end of this repairing the work was given to some of the 
ship-men on board, Swedes and other Northerns, the same 
being expert calkers on account of their much experience 
of their repair of ships injured in their troublous seas. 
Among them was one whom I mistrusted much, as did 
all on board, so that he should not have been retained 
save only that he was a nimble and fearless mariner who 
be the seas never so great would take his place in the 
furlment of sails or in other perilous labour of the sea. 
He was a Russian Finn and like all these heathen people 
had strange powers of evill, or was by all accredited with 
the same. For be it known that these Finns can, by some 
subtile and diabolic means, suck or otherwise derive the 
strength from timbers ; so that many a tall ship has through 

Appendix 487 

this agency gone down to the deep unknown. This Finn, 
Olgaref by name, was a notable calker and with some 
others was slung over the bow to calk the gaping seams. 
I made it to myself a necessity to be present, for I re- 
garded ever the cupidity of man together with the inesti- 
mable value of the Pope's gift. Right sure was I that 
no Spaniard or no Christian would lay a sacrilegious hand 
on the Sacred Figure of Our Lord or of the good Saint 
who bore Him; and hitherto the esteem of all had been 
so great that none would dare so much. But with a 
pagan such considerations avail not, and I feared lest 
even his suspicions might be aroused. Well indeed were 
my fears justified. For as I leaned over the prow, I saw 
him touch the metal of the Christ and of the Saint as 
though some of the same diabolic instinct which had taught 
him to deal infamously with the timbers of ships had 
guided him to the discernment of the metals also. Then 
as I looked, he, all unknowing of my observation, tapped 
softly with his calking-mallet on both the metals which in 
turn gave out sounds which no one could mistake. He 
seemed satisfied with his quest, and resumed his work 
upon the oakum with renewed zeal. Thenceforth during 
our stay in Corunna I so arranged matters that ever both 
day and night there was a sentinel on the prow of the 
San Cristobal. When the day came when, praise be to 
God, 8,000 soldiers and sailors confessed to the friars of 
the fleet on an island in the harbour in which the Arch- 
bishop of Santiago had arranged altars for we had no 
Bishop on the Armada I feared lest Olgaref should 
make, through some inadvertence of those left behind, 
some attempt upon the precious gift. He was too wary, 
however, and behaved with such discretion that for the 
time my suspicion was disarmed. 

On the 22nd. July, after a Council of War in the Royal 
Galleon in which the chief Admirals of the Fleet took 

488 Appendix 

part, our squadron, which had been waiting outside the 
harbour of Corunna with the squadron of Andalusia, the 
Guipuzcoan Squadron and the squadron of Ojeda, set 
sail on our great emprise. 

Truly it did seem as though the powers of the seas and 
the winds was leagued against us; for after but three 
days of fair weather we met with calms and fogs and a 
very hurricane which was as none other of the same ever 
known in the month of Leo. The waves mounted to the 
very heavens, and some of them broke over the ships of 
the fleet doing thereby a vast of damage which could not 
be repaired whilst at sea. In this storm the whole of the 
stern gallery of our galleon was carried away, and it was 
only by the protection of the Most High that the breach 
so made was not the means of ultimately whelming us in 
the sea. With the coming of the day we found that forty 
of the ships of the Armada were missing. On this day 
it was that that great and bold mariner the Admiral Don 
Pedro de Valdes by his great daring and the hazard of 
his life saved my own life, when I had been swept over- 
board by a mighty sea. In gratitude for which I sent 
him that which I held most dear of my possessions, the 
Jewell of the San Cristobal given me by the Pope. 

Thenceforth for a whole week were we hourly harassed 
by the enemy, who, keeping aloof from us, yet managed 
by their superior artillery to inflict upon us incalculable 
damage; so that our carpenters and divers had to work 
endlessly to stop the shot holes above water and below 
it with tow and leaden plates. 

On the last day of July two' disasters befell, in both of 
which our galleon afterwards had a part. The first, was 
to the ship San Salvador of Admiral Miguel de Aquen- 
do's squadron, through the diabolic device of a German 
gunmaster, who in revenge for punishment inflicted on 
him by Captain Preig, threw, after firing his gun, his 

Appendix 489 

lighted linstock into a barrel of powder, to the effect of 
blowing up the two afterdecks and the poop castle, and 
killing over two hundred men. As on this ship was 
Juan de Huerta the Paymaster General with a great part 
of the treasure of the King, it was necessary that she 
should if possible be saved from the enemy who were 
rushing in upon her. The Duke, therefore firing a signal 
gun to the fleet to follow, stood by her to the dismay of 
the English, thus baulked of so rich a prey. In the 
strategy of getting the wounded ship back to her place 
in the formation came the second disaster; for the fore- 
mast of the flagship of Don Pedro de Valdes Nuestra 
Senora del Rosario gave way at the hatches, falling on 
the mainsail boom. The rising sea forbade the giving her 
a hawser; the Duke ordered Captain Ojeda to stand by 
her with our pataches together with Don Pedro's own 
vice flagship the San Francisco and our own San 
Cristobal. A galleon also was to try to fix a hawser for 
towing; but the night shut down on us, and the wiser 
counsel of the Admiral-in-Chief advised by Diego Flores 
forbade so many ships to remain absent from the going 
on of the Armada lest they too should be cut off. So 
we said farewell to that gallant mariner Don Pedro de 

That same evening the wind began to blow and the sea 
to rise so that the injured ship of Admiral Oquendo was 
in danger of sinking; wherefore the High Admiral, on 
such word being brought to him, gave orders that we 
should keep close to her and take in our care the mariners 
and soldiers on board her and also the King's treasure 
chest; for it was said that His Catholic Majesty had on 
the Armada half a million crowns in bullion and coined 
money. It was dark as pitch when we saw the signal 
made when the flagship shortened sail two lanterns at 
the poop and one halfway up the rigging, put out for 

49 Appendix 

the guidance of the fleet. Fearsome their lights looked 
shining over the dark heaving waters which now and 
again so broke with the oncoming waves that the tracks 
of light seemed in places to rise and fall about as though 
they could never be reunited. But our Mariners answered 
to the call, and the boats soon rocked by our sides and 
with a flash of our blades in the lamplight for the battle 
lanterns were lit to aid them one by one they were 
swept into the dark. It was long before they came back, 
for the wild sea made their venture impossible. But be- 
fore noon of the next day they again made essay ; and in 
several voyages brought back many men and great store 
of heavy boxes, which latter were forthwith lodged in 
the powder room which was guarded by night and day. 
This made greater anxiety for Senor de las Alas, in that 
his seamen and mariners, and worse still the foreigners, 
knew that there was such a store of wealth aboard. 

Thenceforth we bore our part in the running fight which 
ensued between our Armada and the Squadrons of Drake 
and the Lord Admiral Howard ; and also that of John 
Hawkins which assailed us with such insistence that we 
fain thought the Devil himself must have some hand in his 
work. At last came a time when by God's grace the flag- 
ship of the enemy was almost within our grasp, for she 
lay amongst us disabled. But many oar-boats of her 
consorts flocked to her, and towed her to safety in the 
calm which forbade us to follow. In this action a dire 
disaster had almost befallen us, and Christendom too, for 
a shot struck us athwart the bow and so loosened the 
girding of our precious figurehead that almost it had 
fallen into the sea. San Cristobal watched over his 
own, however; and presently we had with ropes haled it 
aboard and held it firmly with cables so that it was imme- 
diately safe. It was covered up with tow and sacking 
and so hidden under pretence of safety that none might 

Appendix 491 

discover the secret of its intrinsic preciosity. Ere this 
was completed we were again called to action, as for our 
fleetness we were required to chase with the San Juan 
of Portugal, the flagship of the enemy which was flying 
from our attack. For the English ships, though not so 
large, were swift as our own and more easy of handling ; 
and by their prerogative of nimble steerage could so 
thwart our purposes that ere we could recover on follow- 
ing their tacking, they were well away with full-bellied 
sail. By this, however, we were saved much pain of con- 
cern, for when off Calais roads the Armada lay at anchor 
we, coming amongst the latermost, were placed on the 
skirts of the fleet. Thus when the English on the night 
of Sunday August 7th. sent their fire ships floating with 
wind and tide down on the Armada, so that in panic 
most of the great vessels had to slip their anchors or 
even to cut their cables, we could weigh with due deliber- 
ance and set sail northerly according to our orders from 
the Duke. 

When by Newcastle we saw the English ships drop off 
in their pursuit we knew thereby that their finding was 
at an end and their magazines empty. Whereupon, set- 
ting our course ever northwards, so that rounding Scot- 
land and Ireland we might seek Spain once more, we 
began our task of counting our scars, and thence to the 
work of the leech. Truly we were in pitiable plight, for 
the long continued storm and strain had opened our seams 
and we took water abominably. In that we were of the 
most swift of the vessels of the fleet, our galleon and 
the Trinidad of our own squadron outsailed the 
rest, and bearing away to the eastward, though not 
too much so, and thence north, found ourselves on the 
nth day of August, off the coast of Aberdeyne. The 
sea had now fallen so far that though the waves were 
more than we had reckoned upon at the first yet they 

49 2 Appendix 

were but mild in comparison with what had been. Here 
in a sandy bay close under Buquhan Ness we cast anchor 
and began to overhaul. 

Both our ships had been very seriously damaged, 
and repairs were indeed necessary which required 
careening, had such been possible. But it could 
not be in a latitude where, even in the summer, the seas 
rose so fast and broke so wildly. Our consort the Trini- 
dad, though in sad plight, was not so bad as we were; 
and it was greatly to be feared that if occasion was not to 
be had for making good the ravages of the storm and 
the enemy she might meet with disaster. But such 
amending might not be at this time. The weather was 
threatening ; and moreover the enemy would soon be fol- 
lowing hard behind us. From one of our foreign sea- 
men, a Scotchman who in secret visited Aberdeyne, we 
learned that Queen Elizabeth was sending out a swift 
patache to scour the whole northern coast for any traces 
of the Armada. Though we were two galleons, we yet 
feared such a meeting ; for our stores were exhausted and 
our powder had run low. Of ball we had none, for such 
fighting as these dogged Englishmen are prone to. More- 
over it is the way of these islanders to so hold together 
that when one is touched all others run to aid ; whereby 
were but one gun of ours fired, even off that desolate 
coast, in but a little while would be an army on the shore 
and a squadron of ships upon the sea. It began there- 
fore sorely to exercise my conscience as to how I should 
best protect the treasure entrusted to me. Were it to 
fall into the hands of our enemies it were the worst that 
could happen; and matters had already so disastrously 
arranged themselves that it was to be feared we should 
not hold ourselves in safety. Therefore, taking much 

Appendix 493 

counsel with Heaven, whose treasure indeed it was that I 
was guarding, I began to look about for some secret 
place of storage, to the which I might resort in case dan- 
ger should threaten before we could get safely away from 
the shore. The Artificers said that two days, or perhaps 
three, would be required to complete our restorations ; and 
on the first of these I took a small boat, and with two 
trusty mariners of my own surroundings I set out to 
explore the land close to us, which was of a veritable 
desolation. The shallow bay, in whose mouth we were 
anchored in a sufficiency of water at all tides, was lined 
with great sandhills from end to end save at the extremi- 
ties, where rocks of exceeding durability manifested 
themselves even at high tide, but which shewed with 
ferocity at low water. We essayed at first the northern 
side, but presently abandoned the quest, for though there 
were many deep indentures, wherein the sea ran at times 
with exceeding violence, the simple contours of the rocks 
and of the land above gave little promise of a secret place 
of storage. 

But the south side was different. There had been in 
times long past much upheaval of various kinds, and 
now were many little bays, all iron-bound and full of 
danger, lying between outflanking rocks of a steepness 
unsurpassable. Seaweed was on many great rocks rising 
from the sea whereon multitudinous wild fowl sat scream- 
ing ; between them rose numberless points often invisible, 
save when the surges fell from them in their course, and 
amongst which the tide set with a wonderful current, most 
perilous. Here, after we had many times escaped over- 
turning, being borne by the side of sunken rocks, I at 
last made discovery of such a place as we required. Else- 
where I have recorded for your guidance its bearings and 
all such details as may be needful for the fullfillment of 
your duty. The cave was a great one on the south side of 

494 Appendix 

the bay, with many windings and blind offsets ; and as 
best met my wishes in accordance with my task, the en- 
trance was not easy to be discovered, being small and of 
a rare quality for concealment. Here I made preparation 
for the landing of the treasure, in so far as that I took 
note of all things and made perfect my designs. I had 
left the mariners in the boat, enjoining them to remain in 
her in case of need, so that none of them, much though 
I trusted them, knew of the discovered cave. When we 
had returned to the galleon night had fallen. 

Forthwith, after secret consultation with our admiral, 
I visited the captain of the Trinidad and obtained his 
permission to use on that same night one of his boats with 
a crew for some special private service. For I had 
thought that it were better that none of our own crew, 
who might have had suspicion of what wealth we carried, 
should have a part in our undertaking. This my own 
kinsman Admiral de las Alas had advised. When night 
came, he had so disposed matters on the San Cristobal 
that whilst our debarkation was being made, not even 
the sentries on deck or in the passage ways could see 
aught they being sent below. The Captain himself 
onely remained on deck. 

We made several voyages between the ship and the 
shore, piling after each our weighty packets on the pebble 
beach. None were left to guard them, there being no 
one to molest. Last of all we took the great figurehead 
of silver and gold, which Benvenuto had wrought and 
which the Pope had blessed, and placed it on the shore 
beside the rest. Then the boat went back to the Trini- 
dad. Climbing on the rock overhead, I saw a lantern 
flashed on her deck, as signal to assure me that the boat 
had returned. 

Presently a boat of our own vessel drew near, as had 
been arranged, manned by three trusty men of my own; 

Appendix 495 

and in silence we brought the treasure into the cave. In 
the doing so we were mightily alarmed by a shot from a 
harquebuss from one of the ships in the bay. Eagerly 
we climbed the rocks and looked around as well as we 
could in the darkness. But all was still; what so had 
been, was completed. In the darkness, and whilst the 
tide was low, we placed the treasure in a far branch of 
the cave, placing most of it in the shallow water. The 
sides of the rock were sheer in this far chamber, save 
onely at the end where was a great shelf of rock. On this 
we placed the image of San Cristobal, not thinking it 
well that the Sacred Figure should lie prone. In this 
far cave the waters rose still and silent, for the force of 
the waves was broken by the rocks without. It was 
risen so high in places as to cause us disquietude as we 
made our way out. My chosen mariners made, before 
we left the shore, solemn oath on the Holy Relic of San 
Cristobal which the Pope had given to me that they 
would never reveal aught of the doings of the night. 

Before dawn, which cometh early in these latitudes, we 
were back on board ship; and sought our various quar- 
ters silently that none who knew of our absence might 
guess whence we came. 

Morning brought only more trouble to me. I was told 
that in the night the harquebussier on sentry had seen a 
man swim from the ship and had fired at him. He could 
not tell in the darkness if his aim had been true. I said 
nothing of my suspicion ; but later on discovered that the 
Russian Finn, Olgaref, had disappeared. I knew then 
that this man, having suspicions, had watched us; and 
that if he was still alive he perhaps knew of the entrance 
of the cave. 

All day I took much counsel with myself as to how I 
should act ; and at the last my mind was made up. I had 
a sacred duty in protecting the treasure. I should seek 

496 Appendix 

Olgaref if he had reached the shore and should if need 
be kill him; and by this and other means, secure the 
secret of the entrance of the cave. Thus, you will see, 
oh! my children, the heavy nature of the Pope's Trust, 
and what stern duty it may entail on all of us who guard 

Secretly during the day I made preparation for my 
enterprise. I placed on board the small boat which we 
had used, some barrels of gunpowder, wherein I had 
very much difficulty for our store of armament had run 
low indeed and only the Admiral's knowledge of the 
greatness of my Trust and the measure of my need in- 
clined him to part with even so much. I rowed myself 
ashore in the afternoon, and harquebuss in hand made 
search of all the many promontories and their secret re- 
cesses for the Finn. For some hours I searched, examin- 
ing every cranny in the rock ; but no sign could I find of 
Olgaref. At last I gave up my search and came to the 
cave to complete the work which I had determined upon. 
Lighting my lantern I waded into the shallow water 
which lay in the entrance and stretched inland under the 
great overhanging rock flanked by two great masses of 
stone that towered up on either hand. Patiently I waded 
on, for the tide was low, through the curvings of the 
cave; the black stone on one hand and the red on the 
other giving back the flare of the lantern. Turning to 
the right I waded on, knowing that I would see before 
me the golden figure of San Cristobal. But suddenly I 
came to an end and for a moment stood appalled. The 
Figure no longer stood erect as placed on the wide shelf 
of rock, but lay prone resting on something which raised 
one end of it. Lifting high the lantern, I saw that this 
mass was none other than the dead body of Olgaref. 

The wretched man had after all escaped from the 
galleon and in secret followed us to the cave. He had 

Appendix 497 

climbed upon the shelf and in an endeavour to steal the 
precious figure had pulled it over on himself; and the 
weight of the gold which formed the Christ had in fall- 
ing killed him. He had evidently not known of the other 
treasure, and had followed only this of which he had 
knowledge. As I was about to shut the entrance to the 
cave until such time as I could come with safety to open 
it, I did not disturb the body, but left it underneath the 
Holy Image which he had dared to touch with sacrile- 
gious hand. 

At the Judgment Day, should the treasure not be re- 
covered, he will find it hard to rise from that encumbrance 
that his evil deed had brought upon him. 

With sad heart I came away ; and then, for that I had 
to guard the Pope's treasure, I fixed the barrels of gun- 
powder in place to best wreak the effect I wished. After 
piling them with rocks as mighty as I could lift, I laid 
a slow match which I lighted ; then I stood afar off to wait 
and watch. 

Presently the end came. With a sound as of many 
cannon, though muffled in its coming, the charge was 
fired, and with a great puff of white smoke which rose 
high in air together with stones and earth and the 
upheaval of a great mass of rock which seemed to shake 
the far off place on which I rested, the whole front of 
the cave blew up. Then the white cloud sank lower and 
floated away over the grass ; and for a few minutes only 
a dark thin vapour hung over the spot. When this had 
gone too I came close and saw that the great stone pin- 
nacles had been overthrown, and that so many great 
rocks had fallen around that the entrance to the cave 
was no more, there being no sign of it. Even the channel 
of water which led up to it was so overwhelmed with 
great stones that no trace of it remained. 

Then I breathed more freely, for the Pope's treasure 


498 Appendix 

was for the present safe, and enclosed in the great cave 
in the bowels of the earth, where I or mine though with 
much labour could find it again, in good season. 

In the dark I came back to the San Cristobal where 
my kinsman the admiral told me that already rumours 
were afloat that I had gone to hide some treasure. 
Whereupon we conferred together, and late that night, 
but making such noise that many of the soldiers and 
mariners could hear what was being done and give news 
in secret of our movements, we made pretense of making 
a great shipment into the Trinidad so that the suspicions 
of all were thereupon allayed. 

In the morning the Armada all that was left of it 
hove in sight; and joining it we began a dreary voyage, 
amid storms and tempests and trials and the loss of many 
of our great ships on the inhospitable coast of Ireland, 
which lasted many days till we found ourselves back 
again in Spain. 

Thence, in due season, anxious to see that the Pope's 
treasure had not been discovered, I made my way in secret 
again to Aberdeyne where there overtook me, from the 
rigours of this northern climate and from many hardships 
undergone, the sickness whereof I am weary. 

Where and how the place of hiding will be found I have 
told in the secret writing deposited in the place prepared 
for it, the chart being exact. I have written all these 
matters, because it is well that you my sonne, and ye all 
my children who may have to look forward so much and 
so long to the fullfillment of the Trust, may know how to 
look back as well. 

These letters and papers, should I fail to return from 
that wild headland, shall be placed in your hands by one 
whose kindness I have reason to trust, and who has 
sworn to deliver them safely on your application. Vale. 










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A 2 


(George's Mother, and Maggie,) 


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The Pall Mall Gazette.' Eight short stories, each of them written with 
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The Daily Telegraph. ' Stories of real excellence, distinctive and 
interesting from every point of view.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. Illustrated. 

The Athenaeum. ' The adventures and exciting incidents in the book are 
admirable ; the whole story of the revolution is most brilliantly told. This 
is really a great tale of adventure.' 

The Daily Chronicle. 'We turn the pages quickly, carried on by a 
swiftly moving story, and many a brilliant passage : and when we put the 
book down, our impression is that few works of this season are to be named 
with it for the many qualities which make a successful novel. We congratu- 
late Mr. Harding Davis upon a very clever piece of work. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

A. T. Quiller-Couch in Pall Mall Magazine. 'Mr. Conrad's is a 
thoroughly good tale. He has something of Mr. Crane's insistence ; he 
grips a situation, an incident, much as Mr. Browning's Italian wished to 
grasp Metternich ; he squeezes emotion and colour out of it to the last drop ; 
he is ferociously vivid ; he knows the life he is writing about, and he knows 
his seamen too. And, by consequence, the crew of the Narcissus are the 
most plausibly life-like set of rascals that ever sailed through the pages of 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. ' This is a remarkable piece of work, possessing quali- 
fications which before now have made a work of fiction the sensation of its 
year. Its craftsmanship is such as one has learnt to expect in a book bearing 
Mr. Conrad's name. . . . Amazing intricacy, exquisite keenness of style, 
and a large, fantastic daring in scheme. An extravaganza The Inheritors 
may certainly be called, but more ability and artistry has gone to the making 
of it than may be found in four-fifths of the serious fiction of the year.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Pall Mall Gazette. 'This is a remarkable book. Mrs. Voynich 
has essayed no less than to analyse a boy's character as warped even to the 
edge of permanent injury by the systematic sternness aggravated on occasion 
into fiendish brutality of his guardian. We know nothing in recent fiction 
comparable with the grim scene in which the boy forces his uncle to listen 
to the maledictions of the Commination Service directed against himself. 
Jack Raymond is the strongest novel that the present season has produced, 
and it will add to the reputation its author won by The Gadfly.'' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Academy. c A remarkable story, which readers who prefer flesh and 
blood and human emotions to sawdust and adventure should consider as some- 
thing of a godsend. It is more deeply interesting and rich in promise than 
ninety-nine out of every hundred novels.' 

The World. 'The strength and originality of the story are indisputable.' 
The St. James's Gazette. 'A very strikingly original romance which 
will hold the attention of all who read it, and establish the author's reputation 
at once for first-rate dramatic ability and power of expression. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Standard. ' The analytical power displayed makes this book a 
remarkable one, and the drawing of the chief figures is almost startlingly good. ' 
The Daily News. ' A novel of conspicuous ability. ' 

In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. 'The very strangeness of her genius is one of its chief 
charms. Her domain lies on the outskirts of fairyland, and there is an other- 
worldliness about her most real and convincing characters.' 

The Spectator. 'We are glad to welcome in this delightful volume 
evidence of the unabated vitality of that vein of fantastic invention which ran 
purest in the tales of Andersen. The influence of Gcethe's Wilhelm Meister 
is obvious in the longest and most beautiful story of the collection. But 
when all deductions are made on the score of indebtedness, the originality of 
plot and treatment remain unquestioned. The story is rendered touching and 
convincing by the ingenious charm and sincerity of the narrator.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. 'Contains cleverness of a very varied kind traits of 
fine imagination, of high spiritual feeling, keen observation, and a singular 
sense of discrimination in character and dialogue.' 

The Outlook. 'His story and the figures which people its pages are of a 
vivid and absorbing interest, instinct with life, and on every page some witty 
and memorable phrase, or trenchant thought, or vivid picture.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Spectator. 'No reader, who is not blinded by prejudice, will rise 
from the perusal of this engrossing volume without an enhanced sense of 
compassion for, and admiration of, the singular race of whose traits Mr. 
Zangwill is, perhaps, the most gifted interpreter.' 

The Standard. ' These stories are of singular merit. They are, mostly, 
of a tragic order ; but this does not by any means keep out a subtle humour ; 
they possess also a tenderness . . . and a power that is kept in great restraint 
and is all the more telling in consequence.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

W. E. Henley in ' The Outlook. ' 'A brave, eloquent, absorbing, and, on 
the whole, persuasive book. ... I find them all vastly agreeable reading, 
and I take pleasure in recognising them all for the work of a man who loves 
his race, and for his race's sake would like to make literature. . . . Here, I 
take it here, so it seems to me is that rarest of rare things, a book.' 

The Daily Chronicle. ' It is hard to describe this book, for we can think 
of no exact parallel to it. In form, perhaps, it comes nearest to some of 
Walter Pater's work. For each of the fifteen chapters contains a criticism of 
thought under the similitude of an "Imaginary Portrait." . . . We have a 
vision of the years presented to us in typical souls.' 



With a Photogravure Portrait of the Author 
In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Queen. ' It is impossible to deny the greatness of a book like The 
Master, a veritable human document, in which the characters do exactly as 
they would in life. ... I venture to say that Matt himself is one of the most 
striking and original characters in our fiction, and I have not the least doubt 
that The Master will always be reckoned one of our classics.' 

The Literary World. 'In The Master, Mr. Zangwill has eclipsed all his 
previous work. This strong and striking story is genuinely powerful in its 
tragedy, and picturesque in its completeness. . . . The work strikes a truly 
tragic chord, which leaves a deep impression upon the mind.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Times. 'From whatever point of view we regard it, it is a remark- 
able book.' 

The Guardian. 'A novel such as only our own day could produce. A 
masterly study of a complicated psychological problem in which every factor 
is handled with such astonishing dexterity and intelligence that again and 
again we are tempted to think a really great book has come into our hands.' 

Black and White. 'A moving panorama of Jewish life, full of truth, full 
of sympathy, vivid in the setting forth, and occasionally most brilliant. Such 
a book as this has the germs of a dozen novels. A book to read, to keep, to 
ponder over, to remember.' 

The Manchester Guardian. 'The best Jewish novel ever written.' 



With over Ninety Illustrations by PHIL MAY and Others. 
In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Saturday Review. 'Mr. Zangwill has created a new figure in 
fiction, and a new type of humour. The entire series of adventures is a 
triumphant progress. . . . Humour of a rich and active character pervades 
the delightful history of Manasseh. Mr. Zangwill's book is altogether very 
good reading. It is also very cleverly illustrated by Phil May and other 

The Daily Chronicle. ' It is a beautiful story. The King of Schnorrers 
is that great rarity an entirely new thing, that is as good as it is new.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The St. James's Gazette. ' Mr. Zangwill's Bachelors' Club and Old 
Maids' 1 Club have separately had such a success as their sparkling humour, 
gay characterisation, and irresistible punning richly deserved that it is no 
surprise to find Mr. Heinemann now issuing them together in one volume. 
Readers who have not purchased the separate volumes will be glad to add 
this joint publication to their bookshelves. Others, who have failed to read 
either, until they foolishly imagined that it was too late, have now the best 
excuse for combining the pleasures of two.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Morning Post. 'The story is described as a "fantastic romance," 
and, indeed, fantasy reigns supreme from the first to the last of its pages. It 
relates the history of our time with humour and well-aimed sarcasm. All the 
most prominent characters of the day, whether political or otherwise, come in 
for notice. The identity of the leading politicians is but thinly veiled, while 
many celebrities appear in propriA persond. ' 



In One Volume, price fa. 

The Speaker. 'Those who most admired The Silence of Dean Mait- 
land will find much to hold their attention, and to make them think in The 
World's Mercy. ' 

The Daily Telegraph. ' The qualities of her pen make all of Maxwell 
Gray's work interesting, and the charm of her writing is unalterable. If The 
World's Mercy is painful, it is undeniably forcible and dramatic, and it holds 
the reader from start to finish.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Chronicle. ' There is a strong and pervading charm in this new novel 
by Maxwell Gray. ... It is full of tragedy and irony, though irony is not the 
dominant note. ' 

The Times. 'Its buoyant humour and lively character-drawing will be 
found very enjoyable. ' 

The Daily Mail. ' The book becomes positively great, fathoming a depth 
of human pathos which has not been equalled in any novel we have read for 
years past. . . . The House of Hidden Treasure is not a novel to be bor- 
rowed ; it is a book to be bought and read, and read again and again. ' 


In One Volume, price fa. 

The Standard. ' The Last Sentence is a remarkable story ; it abounds 
with dramatic situations, the interest never for a moment flags, and the 
characters are well drawn and consistent.' 

The Daily Telegraph. ' One of the most powerful and adroitly worked- 
out plots embodied in any modern work of fiction runs through The Last 
Sentence. . . . This terrible tale of retribution is told with well-sustained 
force and picturesqueness, and abounds in light as well as shade.' 



In One Volume, price fa. 




In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. ' Brightly and pleasantly written, Maxwell Gray's new 
story will entertain all readers who can enjoy the purely sentimental in 

The Scotsman. 'The story is full of bright dialogue: it is one of the 
pleasantest and healthiest novels of the season.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily Telegraph. 'Happy in title and successful in evolution, 
Miss Dickinson's novel is very welcome. We have read it with great 
pleasure, due not only to the interest of the theme, but to an appreciation of 
the artistic method, and the innate power of the authoress. It is vigorous, 
forcible, convincing.' 

The Pall Mall Gazette. ' An enjoyable book, and a clever one.' 

In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Outlook. ' Intensely dramatic and moving. We have sensitive 
analysis of character, sentiment, colour, agreeable pathos.' 

The Athenaeum. 'A good story simply told and undidactic, with men 
and women in it who are creatures of real flesh and blood. An artistic 
coterie is described briefly and pithily, with humour and without exaggeration." 

The Academy. ' A pathetic little love idyll, touching, plaintive, and not 
without a kindly and gentle fascination.' 

Literature. ' A remarkably original and powerful story : one of the most 
interesting and original books of the year.' 

The Sunday Special. ' Thrilling from cover to cover. ' 

In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. ' Once again Dorothea Gerard has shown considerable 
ability in the delineation of diverse characters ability as evident in the 
minor as in the chief persons ; and, what is more, she gets her effects without 
any undue labouring of points as to the goodness or badness of her people.' 

The Pall Mall Gazette. 'The little town of Zanee, a retired spot in 
the lower Carpathians, is the scene of Miss Gerard's book. Remote enough, 
geographically ; but the writer has not seen her Galician peasants as 
foreigners, nor has she made them other than entirely human. Human, too, 
are the scheming Jews, the Polish Counts and Countesses, the German 
millionaire. The story is simple and eminently natural.' 



In One Volume, price 6^. 

The Daily Chronicle. ' Mr. Harold Frederic has here achieved a triumph 
of characterisation rare indeed in fiction, even in such fiction as is given us by 
our greatest. Gloria Mundi is a work of art ; and one cannot read a dozen 
of its pages without feeling that the artist was an informed, large-minded, 
tolerant man of the world. ' 

The St. James's Gazette. ' It is packed with interesting thought as well 
as clear-cut individual and living character, and is certainly one of the few 
striking serious novels, apart from adventure and romance, which have been 
produced this year.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Spectator. 'There is something more than the mere touch of the 
vanished hand that wrote The Scarlet Letter in Illumination, which is the 
best novel Mr. Harold Frederic has produced, and, indeed, places him very 
near if not quite at the head of the newest school of American fiction.' 

The Manchester Guardian. ' It is a long time since a book of such 
genuine importance has appeared. It will not only afford novel-readers food 
for discussion during the coming season, but it will eventually fill a recognised 
place in English fiction.' 


In One Volume^ price 6s. 

The Times. 'Harold Frederic stood head and shoulders above the ordinary 
run of novelists. The Market-Place seizes the imagination and holds the 
reader's interest, and it is suggestive and stimulating to thought. ' 

The Bookman. ' Incomparably the best novel of the year. It is a ruthless 
exposure, a merciless satire. Both as satire and romance it is splendid 
reading. As a romance of the " City " it has no equal in modern fiction.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

W. E. Henley in 'The Outlook.' 'Mr. Capes's devotion to style does 
him yeoman service all through this excellent romance. ... I have read no 
book for long which contented me as this book. This story excellently 
invented and excellently done is one no lover of romance can afford to leave 

The St. James's Gazette. 'The love-motif is of the quaintest and 
daintiest ; the clash of arms is Stevensonian. . . . There is a vein of mystery 
running through the book, and greatly enhancing its interest.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily Telegraph. 'Perhaps never before has there been related 
with such detail, such convincing honesty, and such pitiless clearsightedness, 
the tale of misery and torturing perplexity, through which a young and ardent 
seeker after truth can struggle. It is all so strongly drawn. The book is 
simply and quietly written, and gains in force from its clear, direct style. 
Every page, every descriptive line bears the stamp of truth.' 

The Morning Post. ' Via Lucis is but one more exercise, and by no 
means the least admirable, on that great and inexhaustible theme which has 
inspired countless artists and poets and novelists the conflict between the 
aspirations of the soul for rest in religion and of the heart for human love and 
the warfare of the world. 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The St. James's Gazette. ' This is an extraordinarily fine novel. . . . We 
have not, for many years, come across a serious novel of modern life which 
has more powerfully impressed our imagination, or created such an instant 
conviction of the genius of its writer. . . . We express our own decided 
opinion that it is a book which, setting itself a profound human problem, 
treats it in a manner worthy of the profoundest thinkers of the time, with a 
literary art and a fulness of the knowledge of life which stamp a master 
novelist. ... It is not meat for little people or for fools ; but for those who 
care for English fiction as a vehicle of the constructive intellect, building up 
types of living humanity for our study, it will be a new revelation of strength, 
and strange, serious beauty. 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily Chronicle. 'All cleverly told, vivacious, life-like, observant 
sketches. Were we to award the palm where all are meritorious, it should 
be to the delightful triplet entitled ' The Portman Memoirs. ' These three 
sketches are positively exhilarating. We can sincerely recommend them as 
certain cures for the vapours, the spleen, or the "blues."' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum.' Shows marked ability. There is taste and restraint in 
its composition ; dialogue is used at the right points and in due proportion ; 
and the setting of a scene where an important incident occurs is always well 
sketched. The reader's interest is well and legitimately sustained.' 

The British Weekly. 'Many novel-readers will pronounce this the best 
book of its year. It is a work of genius which gives Miss Silberrad a place 
amongst our foremost writers. ' 




In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Times. ' Neither Stevenson himself nor any one else has given us a 
better example of a dashing story, full of life and colour and interest. St. Ives 
is both an entirely delightful personage and a narrator with an enthralling 
style a character who will be treasured up in the memory along with David 
Balfour and Alan Breck, even with D'Artagnan and the Musketeers.' 





In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily Chronicle. 'We are swept along without a pause on the 
current of the animated and vigorous narrative. Each incident and adven- 
ture is told with that incomparable keenness of vision which is Mr. Stevenson's 
greatest charm as a story-teller.' 

The Pall Mall Gazette. 'It is brilliantly invented, and it is not less 
brilliantly told. There is not a dull sentence in the whole run of it. And 
the style is fresh, alert, full of surprises in fact, is very good latter-day 
Stevenson indeed.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Pall Mall Gazette. ' Of the nine stories in this volume, not one falls 
below a notably high level, while three or four of them at least attain what 
short stories not often do, the certainty that they will be re-read, and vividly 
remembered between re-readings. Mr. Osbourne writes often with a deli- 
cious rollick of humour, sometimes with a pathos from which tears are not 
far remote, and always with the buoyancy and crispness without which the 
short story is naught, and with which it can be so much.' 

The Outlook. 'These stories are admirable. They are positive good 
things, wanting not for strength, pathos, humour, observation. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Academy. 'We feel that Mr. Fernald has described the Chinese 
character with extraordinary accuracy. His range is considerable ; he begins 
this volume, for example, with an idyllic story of an adorable Chinese infant. 
. . . This is sheer good-humour, and prettiness and colour. And at the 
end of the book is one of the grimmest and ablest yarns of Chinese piracy and 
high sea villainy that any one has written, Stevenson not excluded. In each 
of these we see the hand of a very capable literary artist. It is a fascinating 
book. ' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Morning Post. 'A strong, clever, and striking book. Mr. Basil 
Marnan has drawn some vivid and wholly new pictures. The book has 
scenes of dramatic power, told with simple directness.' 

The Daily Chronicle. 'It has interested us profoundly, and has given us 
good and sufficient reason to hope that another novel from the same hand and 
with the same mise-tn-scene, may before very long come our way.' 

The Scotsman. 'This is a South African novel which should arrest 
attention. It is of engrossing interest. Mr. Marnan has dramatic power, a 
vivid descriptive talent, and a rich and expressive style. He has written a 
remarkable book. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Spectator. ' Of the wealth and interest and variety of the matter there 
can be no question. It might be called the Book of the Sepoy, for no writer, 
not even Mr. Kipling himself, has given us a deeper insight into the character 
of the Indian fighting man, or brought home to us more vividly the composite 
nature of our native regiments.' 

The Daily News. 'The picturesque native soldier has never been more 
fully described or more realistically painted than in the present volume. The 
book is packed full of good stuff, and deserves to be widely read.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Spectator. ' Mr, Osborne's story transports us to Rome and Capua 
in the days of Hannibal. It is well told, with much vivid detail of Roman 
and Capuan manners, and more vitality in the characters than generally gets 
into the historical tale. ' 

The Athenaeum. ' A good classical novel is the rarest of good things, 
and The Lion's Brood is a meritorious piece of work. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. ' Mr. Garland's work is always fresh and vigorous, and 
this story is full of his characteristic energy. He makes one share with delight 
in the irresistible fascination of wild life in the Far West.' 

The Illustrated London News. 'If Mr. Hamlin Garland had never 
written anything else, The Eagle's Heart would suffice to win him a reputa- 
tion. It is a fine book, instinct with humanity, quivering with strength, and 
in every fibre of it alive.' 




In One Volume, price 6s. 

Punch. 'The heroine of The Beth Book is one of Sarah Grand's most 
fascinating creations. With such realistic art is her life set forth that, for a 
while, the reader will probably be under the impression that he has before him 
the actual story of a wayward genius compiled from her genuine diary. The 
story is absorbing ; the truth to nature in the characters, whether virtuous, 
ordinary, or vicious, every reader with some experience will recognise. ' 

The Globe. ' It is quite safe to prophesy that those who peruse The Beth 
Book will linger delightedly over one of the freshest and deepest studies of 
child character ever given to the world, and hereafter will rind it an ever- 
present factor in their literary recollections and impressions.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. ' It is so full of interest, and the characters are so 
eccentrically humorous yet true, that one feels inclined to pardon all its 
faults, and give oneself up to unreserved enjoyment of it. ... The twins 
Angelica and Diavolo, young barbarians, utterly devoid of all respect, con- 
ventionality, or decency, are among the most delightful and amusing children 
in fiction.' 

The Daily Telegraph. ' Everybody ought to read it, for it is an inex- 
haustible source of refreshing and highly stimulating entertainment.' 

Punch. ' The Twins themselves are a creation : the epithet " Heavenly" 
for these two mischievous little fiends is admirable.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Morning Post. 'It is remarkable as the outcome of an earnest 
mind seeking in good faith the solution of a difficult and ever present problem. 
. . . Ideala is original and somewhat daring. . . . The story is in many 
ways delightful and thought-suggesting.' 

The Liverpool Mercury. 'The book is a wonderful one an evangel 
for the fair sex, and at once an inspiration and a comforting companion, to 
which thoughtful womanhood will recur again and again.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Spectator. 'All these studies, male and female alike, are marked 
by humour, pathos, and fidelity to life. ' 

The Speaker. 'In Our Manifold Nature Sarah Grand is seen at her 
best. How good that is can only be known by those who read for them- 
selves this admirable little volume.' 

The Guardian. ' Our Manifold Nature is a clever book. Sarah Grand 
has the power of touching common things, which, if it fails to make them 
"rise to touch the spheres," renders them exceedingly interesting.' 




In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Pall Mall Gazette. 'It is long since we have read, and indeed 
re-read, any book of modern fiction with so absorbing an interest as Tkc 
Land of Cockayne, the latest book by Matilde Serao(Heinemann),and surely 
as fine a piece of work as the genius of this writer has yet accomplished. It 
is splendid ! The character-drawing is subtle and convincing ; every touch 
tells. Such books as The Land of Cockayne are epoch-making, voices that 
cry aloud in the wilderness of modern " literature," andwill be heard while 
others only cackle. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Observer.' Not only is The Scourge-Stick the best novel that Mrs. 
Praed has yet written, but it is one that will long occupy a prominent place 
in the literature of the age.' 

The Illustrated London News. 'A singularly powerful study of a 
woman who fails in everything, only to rise on stepping-stones to higher things. 
A succession of strong, natural, and exciting situations.' 

Black and White. 'A notable book which must be admitted by all to 
have real power, and that most intangible quality fascination.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Literary World. ' Whatever its exaggerations may be, In Haste and 
at Leisure remains a notable achievement. It has given us pleasure, and we 
can recommend it with confidence. ' 

The World. ' It is clever, and well written.' 

The Graphic. ' It is thoroughly interesting, and it is full of passages that 
almost irresistibly tempt quotation.' 

The St. James's Gazette. ' It is a novel that ought to be, and will be, 
widely read and enjoyed. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 
Mr. W. L. Courtney in the ' Daily Telegraph.' ' Any one who is so 

obviously sincere as Mr. Benjamin Swift is an author who must be reckoned 
with. The story is very vivid, very poignant, very fascinating.' 

The World. 'Mr. Benjamin Swift was a bold man when he called his 
new story Nude Souls. There is a self-assertion about this title which only 
success could justify. Let it be said at once that the author has succeeded. 
He lays absolutely bare before the reader the souls of a striking company of 
men and women. There is that about the book which makes the reader loth 
to put it down, loth to come to the end comprehension of human nature, 
and relentless power of expression.' 




In One Volume, 'price 6s. 

Punch. ' Mr. Hichens calls his eccentric story " an absurdity," and so it 
is. As amusing nonsense, written in a happy-go-lucky style, it works up to 
a genuine hearty-laugh-extracting scene. . . . The Londoners is one of 
the most outrageous pieces of extravagant absurdity we have come across for 
many a day. ' 

The Pall Mall Gazette. ' It is all screamingly funny, and does great 
credit to Mr. Hichens's luxuriant imagination. ' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Scotsman. 'It is no doubt a remarkable book. If it has almost 
none of the humour of its predecessor (The Green Carnation), it is written 
with the same brilliancy of style, and the same skill is shown in the drawing 
of accessories. Mr. Hichens's three characters never fail to be interesting. 
They are presented with very considerable power, while the background of 
Egyptian life and scenery is drawn with a sure hand.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The World. 'The little story is as fantastic and also as reasonable as 
could be desired, with the occasional dash of strong sentiment, the sudden 
turning on of the lights of sound knowledge of life and things that we find in 
the author when he is most fanciful. The others are weird enough and strong 
enough in human interest to make a name for their writer had his name needed 
making. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Speaker. ' It tells an extremely interesting story, and it is full of 
entertaining episodes. Above all, the romance of London is treated as it has 
never been since the glorious reign of Prince Florizel of Bohemia, and, if only 
on that account, The Slave is a book for the busy to remember and for the 
leisurely to read.' 

'The Daily Telegraph. 'The book deserves to be widely read. Sir 
Reuben Allabruth, a figure of real distinction, will take his place among the 
shades of fiction.' 



In One Volume ', price 6s. 

The Daily Chronicle.' A cunning blend of the romantic and the real, the 
work ot a man who can observe, who can think, who can imagine, and who 
can write. . . . And the little thumb-nail sketches of the London streets have 
the grim force of a Callot.' 

The World. 'An exceedingly clever and daring work . . . a novel so 
weirdly fascinating and engrossing that the reader easily forgives its length. 
Its unflagging interest and strength, no less than its striking originality, both 
of design and treatment, will certainly rank it among the most notable novels 
of the season. ' 

In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Times. ' Mr. Clarke is familiar with school-life and writes about it 
amazingly well. The book deserves the attention of all who care for the finer 
qualities of fiction. The story is told with such delicate art, with so sure a 
knowledge of human nature, that we have read it from beginning to end with 
keen interest. Jaspar Tristram is a remarkable book.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Morning Post. 'The tale is full of incidents and dramatic situa- 
tions ; the result commands our unstinted admiration. It is an extraordinarily 
brilliant performance. Though full of the most subtle character-drawing, 
The Rebel is in the main a story of adventure. And these adventures are 
related with such sharpness of outline, they are so vivid, and the style of the 
author is so brilliant throughout, that were there not a character in the book 
worth a moment's consideration, it would still be well worth reading.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Morning Post. ' A story seething with incident and adventure. 
It reads like a chapter torn from the actual history of the times." 

The Academy. 'Red Rock is delicately fine. It is the expression of a 
gracious, benevolent, high-minded individuality. It has the sweet charm of 
" the old school," the dignity, the rare manners. It is honest, loving, and 
capable ; and it has the faint, wistful charm of an antique time. ' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Outlook. 'In The Awkward Age Mr. Henry Tames has surpassed 
i_ I.T > 

The Daily Chronicle. ' In delicacy of texture, his work, compared to the 
work of most, we are strongly inclined to say of all other novelists, is as a 
fabric woven of the finest spider's web to common huckaback. He suggests 
more by his reticences than he tells by his statements. . . . We should 
have to search far and wide in modern fiction to find artistry more finished, 
so consummate. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Athenaeum. ' In The Two Magics, the first tale, " The Turn of the 
Screw," is one of the most engrossing and terrifying ghost stories we have 
ever read. The other story in the book, "Covering End," ... is in its way 
excellently told. ' 

The Daily News. ' It is a masterpiece of artistic execution. Mr. James 
has lavished upon it all the resources and subtleties of his art. The workman- 
ship throughout is exquisite in the precision of the touch, in the rendering 
of shades of spectral representation.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The National Observer. 'A work of brilliant fancy, of delicate humour, 
of gentle satire, of tragedy and comedy in appropriate admixture. We con- 
gratulate Mr. James without reserve upon the power, the delicacy, and the 
charm of a book of no common fascination.' 

The Manchester Guardian. 'Delightful reading. The old felicity of 
phrase and epithet, the quick, subtle flashes of insight, the fastidious liking 
for the best in character and art, are as marked as ever, and give one an 
intellectual pleasure for which one cannot be too grateful. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily News. ' A melodrama wrought with the exquisiteness of a 
madrigal. All the characters, however lightly sketched, are drawn with that 
clearness of insight, with those minute, accurate, unforeseen touches that tell 
of relentless observation. ' 

The Scotsman. 'A masterpiece of Mr. James's analytical genius and 
finished literary style. It also shows him at his dramatic best. He has 
never written anything in which insight and dramatic power are so marvel- 
lously combined with fine and delicate literary workmanship. ' 




In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Academy. 'We have read this book with amazement and delight : 
with amazement at its supreme delicacy ; with delight that its author retains 
an unswerving allegiance to literary conscience that forbids him to leave a 
slipshod phrase, or a single word out of its appointed place. There are many 
writers who can write dialogue that is amusing, convincing, real. But there 
is none who can reach Mr. James's extraordinary skill in tracing dialogue 
from the first vague impulse in the mind to the definite spoken word.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Times. ' Mr. James's stories are a continued protest against super- 
ficial workmanship and slovenly style. He is an enthusiast who has devoted 
himself to keeping alive the sacred fire of genuine literature ; and he has his 
reward in a circle of constant admirers.' 

The Daily News. ' Mr. Henry James is the Meissonier of literary art. 
In his new volume, we find all the exquisiteness, the precision of touch, that 
are his characteristic qualities. It is a curiously fascinating volume.' 

The National Observer. 'The delicate art of Mr. Henry James has 
rarely been seen to more advantage than in these stories. ' 

The St. James's Gazette. 'All four stories are delightful for admirable 
workmanship, for nicety and precision of presentation, and "The Way it 
Came " is beyond question a masterpiece.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Times. ' All the stories are told by a man whose heart and soul are 
in his profession of literature.' 

The Athenaeum. ' The appearance of Terminations will in no way shake 
the general belief in Mr. Henry James's accomplished touch and command of 
material. On the contrary, it confirms conclusions long since foregone, and 
will increase the respect of his readers. . . . With such passages of trenchant 
wit and sparkling observation, surely in his best manner, Mr. James ought to 
be as satisfied as his readers cannot fail to be. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Speaker. 'In style, skill in construction, and general "go, "it is 
worth a dozen ordinary novels.' 

Black and White. 'The novel, like all Mr. Norris's work, is an exces- 
sively clever piece of work, and the author never for a moment allows his 
grasp of his plot and his characters to slacken." 

The Westminster Gazette. ' Mr. Norris writes throughout with much 
liveliness and force, saying now and then something that is worth remember- 
ing. And he sketches his minor characters with a firm touch.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Guardian. 'A very clever and finished study of a dancer at one of 
the London theatres. We found the book very pleasant and refreshing, and 
laid it down with the wish that there were more like it.' 

The 'World. ' The Dancer in Yellow takes us by surprise. The story is 
both tragic and pathetic. . . . We do not think he has written any more 
clever and skilful story than this one, and particular admiration is due to the 
byways and episodes of the narrative.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

St. James's Gazette. ' Mr. Norris's new story is one of his best. There 
is always about his novels an atmosphere of able authorship . . . and The 
Widower is handled throughout in the perfect manner to which Mr. Norris's 
readers are accustomed. ' 

Pall Mall Gazette. ' There is distinction of all kinds in every paragraph, 
and the whole is worthy of the delicately-finished details. Mr. Norris is 
always delightfully witty, clever, and unfailing in delicacy and point of style 
and manner, breezily actual, and briskly passing along. In a word, he is 



In One Volume, ^rice 6s. 

The Athenaeum. 'A fluent style, a keen insight into certain types of 
human nature, a comprehensive and humorous view of modern society these 
are gifts Mr. Norris has already displayed, and again exhibits in his present 
volume. From the first chapter to the last, the book runs smoothly and 
briskly, with natural dialogue and many a piquant situation.' 

The Daily News. ' Every character in the book is dexterously drawn. 
Mr. Norris's book is interesting, often dramatic, and is the work of, if not a 
deep, a close and humorous observer of men and women.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily Chronicle. 'It has not a dull page from first to last. Any 
one with normal health and taste can read a book like this with real pleasure. ' 

The Spectator. 'The brightest and cleverest book which Mr. Norris has 
given us since he wrote The Rogue.' 

The Saturday Review. 'Novels which are neither dull, unwholesome, 
morbid, nor disagreeable, are so rare in these days, that A Victim of Good 
Luck . . . ought to find a place in a book-box filled for the most part with 
light literature. . . . We think it will increase the reputation of an already 
very popular author." 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Outlook.' We have here a book packed with thought, suggestive, 
sincere. The story is told supremely well. It has construction, it has 
atmosphere. The characters live, breathe, love, suffer. Everything is on 
the high plane of literature. It is a book of absorbing interest.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Daily Telegraph. ' Packed full of cleverness : the minor personages 
.ire instinct with comedy.' 

The Daily Chronicle. 'The book is well written, the characters keenly 
observed, the incidents neatly presented.' 

The Queen. 'A book to linger over and enjoy.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Standard. 'A worthy successor to Joanna Traill, Spinster. It is 
quite as powerful. It has insight and sympathy and pathos, humour, and 
some shrewd understanding of human nature scattered up and down its pages. 
Moreover, there is beauty in the story and idealism. . . . Told with a humour, 
a grace, a simplicity, that ought to give the story a long reign. . . . The 
charm of the book is undeniable ; it is one that only a clever woman, full of 
the best instincts of her sex, could have written.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The World. 'The story, in which there are many beautiful descriptive 
passages, is so human and sympathetic, so full of the comprehension and love 
of nature, and shows such real humour too, that it cannot fail to arouse and 
maintain interest.' 



In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Literary World. ' The extraordinary sincerity of parts of the book, 
especially that dealing with Mariana's early married life, the photographic 
directness with which the privations, the monotony, the dismal want of all 
that makes marriage and motherhood beautiful, and of all that Mariana's 
colour-loving nature craved, is pictured, are quite out of the common.' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Times. c It has many things to recommend it. Miss Glasgow has 
written a clever and interesting book. Her characters are all alive. She 
suggests their Southern States environment with a vivid pen. Her negroes 
are capital. A story dealing even lightly with politics that permits itself to 
be read is a rarity. Miss Glasgow has achieved the difficult task, and the 
latter part of her book, which is the political part, is, if anything, the more 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Spectator.' The fascination of The Reds of the Midi and The 
Terror is exerted with equal force and charm in their brilliant sequel, The 
White Terror. Few narratives in modern fiction are more thrilling. 
M. Gras has the gift of achieving the most vivid and poignant results by a 
method devoid of artifice or elaboration. The narrative is a masterpiece of 
simplicity and naivete: a stirring and richly coloured recital.' 

The Daily Chronicle. ' The book is full of living pictures. The 
feverishness, the uncertainty, of everything and everybody are most power- 
fully brought out. ' 


In One Volume, price 6s. 

The Pall Mall Gazette. 'Those who shared Mr. Gladstone's admiration 
for The Reds of the Midi will renew it when they read The Terror. It is a 
stirring and vivid story, full of perilous and startling adventures, and with- 
out one interval of dulness. ... It excites and absorbs the reader's atten- 
tion. The excitement grows with the development of the plot, and the 
incidents are told with much spirit.' 



W. L. Courtney in the Daily Telegraph. D'Annunzio is one of the 
great artistic energies of the age. He is the incarnation of the Latin genius 
just as Rudyard Kipling is the incarnation of the Anglo-Saxon genius. He 
has invented new harmonies of prose. 

In One Volume, price 6.y. each 


The Pall Mall Gazette. 'A work of genius, unique, astounding. 
There are passages that sweep one headlong, and the whole leaves an 
indelible impression.' 

The Standard. ' The pages are rich in symbolic imagery, in beautiful 
word-pictures of Venice, and are saturated by the spirit of the Renaissance in 
its most luxurious form.' 


The Academy. '. . . Clever, subtle, to the point of genius.' 

The Daily Mail. 'A powerful study of passion, masterly of its kind.' 

The Daily Graphic. 'The poetic beauty and richness of the language 

make it a sensuous, glowing poem in prose.' 

The Scotsman. ' The strength of the book lies in the intensity with which 

the writer brings out the pleasures and pains of his creatures. ' 


The Pall Mall Gazette. 'No word but "genius" will fit his analysis of 
the mental history of the faithless husband.' 

The Daily Chronicle. 'The book contains many descriptive passages of 
rare beauty passages which by themselves are lovely little prose lyrics. . . . 
It is a self-revelation ; the revelation of the sort of self that D'Annunzio 
delineates with a skill and knowledge so extraordinary. The soul of the 
man, raw, bruised, bleeding, is always before us.' 


The Pall Mall Gazette. ' A masterpiece. The story holds and haunts 
one. Unequalled even by the great French contemporary whom, in his realism, 
D'Annunzio most resembles, is the account of the pilgrimage to the shrine of 
the Virgin by the sick, deformed, and afflicted. It is a great prose poem, that, 
of its kind, cannot be surpassed. Every detail of the scene is brought before 
us in a series of word-pictures of wonderful power and vivid colouring, and the 
ever-recurring refrain Viva Maria! Maria JEwiv a ! rings in our ears as we 
lay down the book. It is the work of a master, whose genius is beyond 


The Daily Chronicle. ' He writes beautifully, and this book, by the way, 
is most admirably translated. The picture he presents of these three princesses 
in their sun-baked, mouldering, sleepy palace is, as we look back upon it, 
strangely impressive and even haunting.' 



A New Volume is published each month, price Two Guineas, 

post free, for a Subscription of Twelve Volumes, 

or separately in Special Binding 

Four Shillings per Volutne. 

The following Volumes are now ready, and others will follow 
at regular monthly intervals : 



















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